How to Protect Your Children From Bug Bites This Summer
Spring and summer are around the corner, and if you have kids you know what that means—more daylight hours, so more time outdoors and more bug bites! The most common bug bites are from fleas, mosquitoes, wasps and bees. Most bug bites result in mild, local reactions like a small, itchy, swollen welt. If your child is allergic to bug bites, these welts can turn into swollen lesions that are painful to touch and keep them (and you) up all night.
Children are more sensitive to bug bites than adults, which means your child is more susceptible to skin infections related to bug bites. The outer layer of your child’s skin is thinner and therefore less resilient than adult skin. Some bug bites can cause bacterial infections, such as impetigo, a superficial infection of the skin characterized by yellow, crusted lesions. Impetigo is highly contagious and can be rapidly spread among children. Treatment for impetigo includes the use of topical or oral antibiotics. Seek medical attention immediately if you or your child experiences any signs of an allergic reaction or infection.
How to protect and treat bug bites on children
Children’s skin both absorbs and loses moisture more quickly than adult skin, so external irritants penetrate children’s skin more easily. Due to the sensitive nature of a child’s skin, people who prefer insect repellant and anti-itch products made with natural ingredients should consider steroid-free TriCalm hydrogel. If a natural repellent is unavailable, the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children more than two months of age use a repellent with 10 to 30 percent DEET. DEET should not be used on children younger than two months of age. Read more about DEET.
To protect you and your family, here are some easy tips for bug bite prevention:
Designate “no playing zones.” Bugs are most commonly found in wooded or overgrown places where there’s usually a large amount of leaf litter, thick weeds or high grass. Keep your grass mowed and weeds to a minimum. Fence in your yard and move children’s play areas far away from overgrown habitats.
Dress your children in light-colored protective clothing. Long-sleeved shirts, long pants, boots or sturdy shoes and a head covering protect against pests such as fleas and ticks. Light colored clothing also helps you identify pests in order to remove them.
Avoid lathering your children with scented soaps. Perfumes, lotions, oils or other fragrant cosmetics attract bugs and make your child live bait when spending time outdoors.
Thoroughly clean and sanitize pet bedding. If your pet spends time indoors and out, protect your family by vacuuming and washing your pet’s bedding weekly.