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You will surely recollect the times when you stayed awake to ward off mosquitoes from your sleeping babies. These tiny irritating insects find babies easy targets and feast on their blood easily. Imagine the discomfort a baby feels when bitten by a mosquito when adults like us cannot stand their buzzing. Apart from the irritation, mosquito protection for babies is extremely critical from their health point-of-view.
Causes of Mosquito Bites in Infants
Babies are unprepared to deal with mosquito attacks and hence are attractive targets for blood-sucking mosquitoes. Here are a few reasons of mosquito bites in infants:
- Unclean environment: Stagnant water bodies, over-flowing or open garbage cans attract mosquitoes. If these are commonly found in your home, your baby is at risk.
- Exposed body portions: Babies are dressed in short pants/nappies and sleeveless t-shirts regularly. They become easy targets for mosquitoes due to this. Full sleeves, long & loose pyjamas and socks can prevent this easily.
- Dampness: If your home has dampness or leakages, there are chances of mosquito breeding. Wet towels and clothes, leaking roofs and damp areas should be avoided with a tiny one at home.
- Uncovered food items: The smell of food in your home can attract mosquitoes in large numbers. You should maintain high levels of kitchen hygiene when you have a baby at home.
- Perfumed lotions or creams: If you bring baby oils, lotions and creams for massages etc. it could attract mosquitoes. Perfumed powders should be avoided too.
- Sweat: Mosquitoes are attracted to sweat odour and its warmth. If you find your baby sweating, use a soft towel to wipe it off. Do not allow the sweat to settle on your tiny one’s body.
- Water-based decorations: Fancy waterfalls, flashing lights and gurgling sounds may give your home a unique look, but are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Your innocent baby can become an easy target for such home-grown mosquitoes.
Sign & Symptoms of Mosquito Bites Infections in Infants
As a parent, you may take every necessary precaution against mosquito bites inside the home, but your child remains vulnerable. When you carry your child out for a stroll in the garden, its face and hands are common target areas. Your baby will be in discomfort because of the constant itching and swelling on its skin. It may not be possible to avoid mosquito bites entirely despite all your efforts. However, watch out for the following symptoms of mosquito bites:
- Tiny red bump
- Swollen reddish areas
- Dark spots after a couple of days of the mosquito bite
- Scratching by the baby or crying without reason
- The skin seems raised and has a prominent white centre with a red spot
Seek Immediate Medical Attention If Baby Has Following Symptoms
Mosquitoes are effective carriers of various diseases and should be kept away from infants. Your baby will need immediate medical attention if you notice any of the symptoms mentioned below:
- Lesions, inflammations and red patches on your baby’s soft skin demands medical attention.
- Wheezing and swollen throats are indicators of anaphylaxis which can turn into a life-threatening condition.
- Check for unaccounted rash, fever, vomiting and nausea
- Heavy breathing and reactions in other parts of the body
- Take your child to the doctor if the swelling or irritation does not subside after a day. Also, watch out if the condition worsens.
- Pain on or around the affected area does not reduce.
- Your baby’s sensitivity to light increases.
- Lips are swollen
- Swelling around the neck
- The bitten area is enlarged and contains pus
How to Treat Mosquito Bites on Babies
Babies are the easiest of targets for the blood-sucking mosquitoes who reside in your home. Try the following mosquito bite remedy for the baby for effective treatment:
- To control itching and swelling after a mosquito bite, apply ice on the infected area.
- Use a deodorant (roll-on type) that contains aluminium chloride to give immediate relief.
- Soothing calamine lotion is also a quick and easy remedy for babies.
- The baby may try to scratch the area which could spread bacteria so prevent this.
- Speak to your doctor as soon as you notice redness, pus or swelling in the bitten area.
- In case of symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea and fever, notify the doctor immediately.
Home Remedies for Infant Mosquito Bite
Mothers will find the below-mentioned remedies for mosquito bite relief for babies quite useful. These are effective home remedies and do not have any side effects. The ingredients needed for these remedies are available in our homes and are easy to source too.
- Lemon: Lemon has excellent anti-inflammatory and anaesthetic properties. This makes it one of the best home remedies available. Cut a lemon into two and apply directly over the bite. You can also use fresh lemon juice for application on the skin.
- Garlic: Garlic is a beautiful soothing balm for itchiness and swelling after bites. It helps the swelling to reduce, and the harsh odour keeps mosquitoes away from your helpless baby. Crush garlic and rub it gently over the bite. Clean it with a damp cloth after a few minutes.
- Baking Soda: This inexpensive and effective method for curing mosquito bites in babies is highly popular amongst mothers. Baking soda can quickly restore the pH level and helps in reducing itching. Dissolve one teaspoon of baking soda in a cupful of water. Dip a soft towel in it and place it on the bitten areas for 10 minutes.
- Ice: Ice is helpful in preventing inflammation and also keeps the bite from affecting nearby areas. Keep a few ice cubes in a clean, soft cloth and dab it on the skin repeatedly. Do not hold it over your baby’s sensitive skin for long as it could cause some discomfort. This simple yet effective treatment heals the condition quickly.
- Salt: Clean the skin area with sea salt and water for quick relief. Like lemons, salt is anti-inflammatory and proves to be an effective home-based remedy for mosquito bites. Its easy availability makes it a quick solution to insect bites.
- Aloe Vera: This is a natural antiseptic, and its gel is a great reliever for mosquito bites on babies. Keep the gel in the refrigerator for a few minutes and then apply over the affected area. It will reduce the itchiness, swelling and pain due to the mosquito bite.
- Honey: Honey finds a lot of applications in the world of home remedies. Since it is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, honey soothes the mosquito bites and keeps inflammation under control.
Since prevention has always been a better step than cure, the following steps for mosquito bite relief for babies can be quite beneficial.
- Provide mosquito nets: Cover your baby’s bed, crib, and the car seat with fine mosquito nets. These can prove to be the first line of defence in your fight against these buzzing attackers.
- Cover your baby fully: You should dress your baby in protective clothing which will create an effective barrier from the mosquitoes. Cover the arms and legs well.
- Use of Insect repellents: While using insect repellents, one must be careful not to apply them to your baby’s skin directly. Use them on the baby’s clothes they contain harmful chemicals. Mosquito repellents consist of DEET which can be unsafe for babies under two years of age.
- Keep your child away: Accumulated or stagnant water bodies and woody areas are ideal breeding places for mosquitoes. While you take your baby out for a stroll, avoid such places as it could lead to mosquito bites.
- Invest in window screens: Ensure all the windows are covered with proper nets or screens. This will keep the mosquitoes from getting near your baby. Put on table fans to drive away the mosquitoes.
- Close doors: Keeping doors and windows closed during late evenings so that mosquitoes do not enter the home. Your baby will remain safe from mosquito attack this way.
When Should You Call the Doctor?
A call to your doctor or paediatrician is warranted if you notice different reactions on other parts of the baby’s body. He or she may have difficulty in breathing. Get medical help if your toddler is more irritable than earlier and complains of pain. If the itching, swelling and pain do not subside after a few days, call your doctor and seek immediate advice.
It is not possible to keep mosquitoes at bay at all times, and there can’t be a fool-proof plan against the flying attackers. However, the chances of mosquito bites can be minimized. When your toddler is sleeping or at play, keep a close watch on the surroundings. A bit of vigilance is all that is needed for keeping your home environment mosquito-free.
Also Read: Chikungunya In Children