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World Mosquito Day 2019: Useful Tips For Treating And Preventing Mosquito Bites In Children

As per the report developed by WHO, diseases caused by mosquitoes account for more than 400,000 deaths per, year in which most are children under 5 years of age. The number of deaths (in children) are rising per day and needs immediate attention. Mosquitoes are the best-known disease vector, causing illnesses like dengue, chikungunya, malaria, Zika, etc. [1] .

Female mosquitoes are the ones that bite, as they require blood as food to produce their eggs. The bites cause itching, redness, and discomfort [2] . Here are a few useful tips that will help prevent and treat mosquito bites.

Mosquito Bite Symptoms

Though mosquito bites can cause minor symptoms like redness on the skin, itching, swelling, and discomfort that goes after a few hours, in some cases the symptoms last longer than a week. The symptoms that need immediate medical attention after mosquito bites are

  • nausea,
  • dizziness,
  • vomiting,
  • extent fever that repeats itself after a particular time,
  • breathing problem, and
  • continuous swelling [12] .

Prevent Mosquito Bites In Children

Mosquito bites can be prevented by simple and easy tricks. Here are few effective ways which will help in preventing mosquito bites in children.

1. Stay away from mosquito dens: Try to keep distance from areas which are breeding ground for mosquitoes, such as garbage cans, uncovered food items, gardens, and areas with stagnant water [3] .

2. Use screens to keep mosquitoes outside: Use mosquito meshes with tiny holes on the windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering into the house. If the screens are not available, hang mosquito nets around your bed as a way of keeping the mosquitoes away.

3. Wear long sleeve shirts: Use long-sleeve T-shirts and full trousers if you are going to places where mosquito bites can't be avoided. The long sleeves will protect you from direct bites.

4. Wear light-coloured clothes: Apparently, these blood-suckers are more attracted to deep colours like black, blue, and red [4] . To prevent the bites, use light-coloured dresses and ones made of thick fabric and are loose-fitting as they provide more protection than tight clothes.

5. Use insect-repellant spray: Apply the repellent on exposed skin to prevent mosquito bites. DEET is the most used chemical in such sprays as it is very effective in preventing insects bites. Be careful of the amount of DEET (10 per cent - 30 per cent) in the spray and avoid spraying on face and burnt areas in the body [6] . Likewise, there are several repellents which can be sprayed on clothes to keep mosquitoes away from the skin. Be careful with the selection of the suitable product.

6. Stay indoors during dusk: Mosquitoes are more active during the evening time [5] . Stay indoors or if you are outside, use mosquito-prevention tricks such as suing repellents and wearing full-sleeves to stay away from their bites.

Measures To Treat Mosquito Bites In Children

There are several ways to soothe the discomfort caused by a mosquito bite. Some can be cured by medicines or creams and some just need odd tricks. All the below mentioned measures are effective without causing any serious side effects.

1. Apply ice: The cold sensation of ice slows down the rate of inflammation, itching, redness, and discomfort caused by mosquito bite. Wrap ice cubes in a clean cloth and avoid using it directly on the skin [7] .

2. Use antihistamine cream: Your body releases the chemical histamine which causes the itching when a mosquito bites. Therefore, use antihistamine cream or pills to prevent inflammation [8] .

3. Use a concentrated form of heat: According to some studies, concentrated forms of heat are capable to reduce the itchiness or discomfort within 10 minutes of a mosquito bite. Heat destroys the protein that caused the itching [9] . To use a concentrated form of heat, heat a spoon and apply it on the affected area.

4. Apply aloe vera gel: The anti-inflammatory property of aloe vera reduces the inflammation caused by mosquito bites and also provide a soothing effect to the skin, thereby reducing the itchiness [10] .

5. Apply honey: Honey is used in treating mosquito bites as it reduces the inflammation and prevents any infection [10] .

6. Lemon eucalyptus oil: The oil extracted from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree contain a compound known as PMD or para-menthane-3,8-diol. This compound, when applied on the skin, distracts mosquitoes and make it harder for them to pick up the odour of the skin [11] .

Dont's For Mosquito Bites

  • Do not allow the child to scratch the area of mosquito bite on the skin as it will cause redness and increase the infection.
  • Do not maintain the child's fingernail long as it can increase the spread of infection.
  • Avoid reapplying the repellent spray unless needed and don't put it on the face or near the eyes.

Note: Watch out for symptoms of any disease (as mentioned earlier) and consult a doctor if the symptoms prevail.

View Article References
  1. [1] Lee, H., Halverson, S., & Ezinwa, N. (2018). Mosquito-borne diseases. Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice, 45(3), 393-407.
  2. [2] Tandina, F., Doumbo, O., Yaro, A. S., Traoré, S. F., Parola, P., & Robert, V. (2018). Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) and mosquito-borne diseases in Mali, West Africa. Parasites & vectors, 11(1), 467. doi:10.1186/s13071-018-3045-8
  3. [3] Dejenie, T., Yohannes, M., & Assmelash, T. (2011). Characterization of mosquito breeding sites in and in the vicinity of tigray microdams. Ethiopian journal of health sciences, 21(1), 57–66. doi:10.4314/ejhs.v21i1.69045
  4. [4] Kriska, G., Csabai, Z., Boda, P., Malik, P., & Horváth, G. (2006). Why do red and dark-coloured cars lure aquatic insects? The attraction of water insects to car paintwork explained by reflection-polarization signals. Proceedings. Biological sciences, 273(1594), 1667–1671. doi:10.1098/rspb.2006.3500
  5. [5] O'Donnell, A. J., Rund, S., & Reece, S. E. (2019). Time-of-day of blood-feeding: effects on mosquito life history and malaria transmission. Parasites & vectors, 12(1), 301. doi:10.1186/s13071-019-3513-9
  6. [6] Koren, G., Matsui, D., & Bailey, B. (2003). DEET-based insect repellents: safety implications for children and pregnant and lactating women. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l'Association medicale canadienne, 169(3), 209–212.
  7. [7] Wilcox, C. L., & Yanagihara, A. A. (2016). Heated Debates: Hot-Water Immersion or Ice Packs as First Aid for Cnidarian Envenomations?. Toxins, 8(4), 97. doi:10.3390/toxins8040097
  8. [8] Ohtsuka, E., Kawai, S., Ichikawa, T., Nojima, H., Kitagawa, K., Shirai, Y., ... & Kuraishi, Y. (2001). Roles of mast cells and histamine in mosquito bite-induced allergic itch-associated responses in mice. The Japanese Journal of Pharmacology, 86(1), 97-105.
  9. [9] Müller, C., Großjohann, B., & Fischer, L. (2011). The use of concentrated heat after insect bites/stings as an alternative to reduce swelling, pain, and pruritus: an open cohort-study at German beaches and bathing-lakes. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 4, 191–196. doi:10.2147/CCID.S27825
  10. [10] Moore, E. L., Scott, M. A., Rodriguez, S. D., Mitra, S., Vulcan, J., Cordova, J. J., … Hansen, I. A. (2018). An online survey of personal mosquito-repellent strategies. PeerJ, 6, e5151. doi:10.7717/peerj.5151
  11. [11] Lee M. Y. (2018). Essential Oils as Repellents against Arthropods. BioMed research international, 2018, 6860271. doi:10.1155/2018/6860271
  12. [12] Seda, J., & Horrall, S. (2019). Mosquito Bites. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.