My 10-year-old step son loves bugs. My one-year-old son loves to eat bugs. As a mom, I now hate bugs. They’re one of those traveling after thoughts that always seem to ‘bite’ me in the butt in the end. Literally.
A travel blog wouldn’t be complete without tracking down expert, pediatrician-approved tips on battling the bugs.
I chatted with Dr. Dina Kulik to get the scoop:
Some locations have lots of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can carry diseases such as Malaria and Dengue, and the itch is not fun. There’s also now a warning to travelers to the Caribbean and Central and South America of the mosquito-borne disease chikungunya, which continues to spread in those areas. Unfortunately there is no vaccine or treatment for the infection, so prevention is key. Chikungunya causes symptoms such as fever and joint pain, and fortunately, it’s rarely fatal. But the bottom line is that kids and itches don’t go hand in hand. Think sleepless nights, whining kids and endless scratching/scabs.
How to avoid mosquito bites by Dr. Dina Kulik
- Wear light coloured long sleeve shirts and pants when possible. Mosquitos are less attracted to light colours
- Avoid the outdoors from dusk till dawn
- Use a low concentration Deet spray when needed. Citronella is not usually very effective, and not even recommended for use by young children. For kids less than ten years, we recommend DEET 10% max; older kids can have 30%. Avoid contact with the nose, eyes and mouth. Check this out for more on mosquito bite protection and treatment (http://drdina.ca/how-to-avoid-mosquito-bites/) and (http://drdina.ca/what-to-put-on-mosquito-bites/).
- If your child is bit, keep the area of the bite clean and dry.
- Benadryl spray or a mild steroid cream like hydrocortisone can take the edge off individual spots.
- Benadryl taken by mouth can decrease the itch and swelling if the bites are widespread.
Overall, bugs are tolerable and often times part of the fun (camping and hiking). So don’t let fear stop your family from getting outdoors. As Dr. Kulik recommends, prevention is key. Always stay one step ahead of the web…