“Goodnight, don’t let the bugs bite!!” I said to my five year old. He smiled but I couldn’t help despair at the angry red swollen marks he had on his chubby cheeks. The poor child had been recently bitten by the blood-thirsty mosquitoes which seemed to have found a permanent residence in my humble abode. I did try the usual pain/itch relief creams but the sad truth was my little munchkin did go through a lot of discomfort on being subjected to harmful insect bites before gradual relief.Asking him to remain indoors was not the ideal solution. How long can a child remain indoors in fear of insect bites? In the previous article, we talked about some solutions for effective pain relief for insect bites. But ‘Prevention is better than cure’ they say and I whole-heartedly agree. I had to look for solutions which would work in the long run. And work they did. So, drawing from my own experience, I would like to make suggestions on how to prevent an insect bite to all you wonderful parents whose prime concern is and always has been their lovely children.There are several ways and changes to your lifestyle which can minimize or completely prevent insect bites:
- Get regular pest control or fumigation done for your house or apartment
- Use structural barriers, such as window screens or mosquito nets
- Avoid thickly wooded or grassy areas where insects can lurk without being seen, ready to attack
- Try to avoid heavy scents, perfumes or bright colours as these can attract insects
- Try to avoid stagnant water sites which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes
- Keep food or drinks covered as they can attract insects like house flies, ants and mosquitoes
- If you are travelling, always keep a calamine lotion or insect repellent handy
- If you are travelling to an area where there is a risk of infection, take the necessary/any recommended shots/vaccines and precautions.
- If you are going camping, tents should be pitched away from water or swamps.
- Some mosquitoes are most active during twilight periods (dawn and dusk) so try to minimize outdoor activity during these periods
- Wear and make your children wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats to minimize the areas of exposed skin
- Use natural insect repellents. There are several popular brands of repellants available in the market, however most contain a substance called DEET. A study was conducted in the late 1980s determine the effects of DEET and it was found that a full one-quarter of the subjects studied experienced negative health effects that they blamed on exposure to the chemical. Effects included rashes, skin irritation, numb or burning lips, nausea, headaches,dizziness and difficulty concentrating.(Source : Scientific American)
Given these possible negative side-effects of DEET, parents are now insisting on a non-toxic environment-friendly alternative for their babies/children. A brand called Mama earth has come up with just the right natural repellent which consists of natural essential aromatic oils like Citronella, Peppermint & Lemon Eucalyptus. It DOES NOT contain harmful toxic ingredients like DEET, parables, sulfates, phosphates, mineral oil, petroleum, synthetic fragrances or dyes which are proven to harm your baby. It keeps your babies safe and free. This repellent can also be applied to clothing, shoes, tents, mosquito nets to enhance protection. It should not be applied around the eyes, or to areas where there are cuts and irritated skin. This repellent is safe even for babies. More details of this can be found here. After all, there’s nothing more important than the safety of your baby. Stay safe and keep your near and dear ones safe. Happy Parenting!