Treating Mosquito Bites in Children
Your child probably won’t even notice if, say, a mosquito sinks its proboscis into his chubby little thigh — although the itching afterward will probably bug him big-time. Here are some tips for treating bug bites and keeping those itches away.
A female mosquito locks onto her victim using a combination of scent, exhaled carbon dioxide, and chemicals in the person’s sweat. When she finds a suitable meal, she lands on an area of exposed skin and inserts her proboscis to draw the victim’s blood. The common symptoms — a telltale red bump and itching — aren’t caused by the bite itself, but by a reaction of the body’s immune system to proteins in the mosquito’s saliva.
Learn more about mosquito bite allergies, and whether an encounter with mosquitoes might be potentially harmful.
Symptoms of a more severe allergic reaction may include:
- large area of itching
- bruises near the site of the bite
- lymphangitis (inflammation of the lymph system)
- hives (at or around the bite)
- anaphylaxis (a rare, life-threatening condition that results in swelling in the throat and wheezing and requires immediate medical attention)
Allergic reactions aren’t the only concern regarding mosquito bites. Mosquitoes can also transmit serious diseases, such as:
- dengue fever
- encephalitis (brain infection)
- yellow fever
- West Nile Virus (found in North America)
- meningitis (brain and spinal cord inflammation)
As with other allergies, prevention is the best approach. Mosquitoes require standing or stagnant water to breed. Avoid standing water especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, if possible.
Other ways to prevent mosquito bites include:
- wearing protective, light-colored clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and a wide-brimmed hat
- eliminating standing water around the home (unclog rain gutters, empty children’s pools, clean birdbaths, and empty unused containers such as flower pots)
- repairing holes in window or door screens
- using citronella-scented candles in outdoor areas or campsites
- UsingQM mosquito trap either indoor or outdoor
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