Take the Sting out of Bug Bites
Along with summer fun come insect bites. Bites from common culprits such as mosquitoes, gnats, chiggers, ticks, bees, and wasps can make anyone miserable. Some insects are carriers of serious diseases, so it is important to avoid the bites as much as possible.
There are many safe and effective insect repellents that you can use to protect your child, including those that use DEET, citronella, or soybean oil. Remember to only use products that are approved for children and wash off the repellent when you return indoors. Be aware that insect repellents do not protect against most stinging insects, such as wasps, bees, and fire ants.
In general, apply the repellent to all exposed skin. When applying to the face, spray onto an adult's hands and then rub onto the child's face, being careful to avoid the eyes and mouth. DEET is absorbed through the skin, so limit the amount you use (and be sure it is age appropriate for your child). It's best to apply the repellent to clothing rather than the skin whenever possible. To keep your children safe from insect bites, you can also:
- Keep as much skin covered with clothing as possible. Wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, socks, and a hat especially in the evenings, when insects are at their peak.
- Wear light colored clothing
- Avoid scented products, which can attract bugs.
- Make sure you change water in birdbaths, fountains, wading pools, etc. Remove excess or unnecessary water from places where insects like mosquitoes will breed.
- If there are warnings about mosquito-borne diseases in effect, stay indoors during the evenings when mosquitoes are most active until further notice.