Spring is here and so are the bugs. In the spring and summer months, kids are especially susceptible to bug bites. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, it is safe to use insect repellent and sunscreen at the same time. The FDA recommends applying the sunscreen first and applying insect repellent second.
Most insect bites, like a mosquito bite, only result in mild local reactions like a small itchy swollen bump. However, infected mosquitoes can transmit the West Nile virus. In healthy people, West Nile usually produces mild symptoms. But, patients with compromised immune systems and seniors can become seriously ill.
Also, ticks are usually harmless but a tick bite can lead to Lyme disease.
You can treat most bites and stings at home. However, seek medical attention immediately if you or your child experiences any signs of an allergic reaction.
To protect you and your family, here are some easy bug preventions tips for your kids:
• If possible, use natural insect repellents rather than bug sprays and lotions. One natural product to protect against bug bites are the shoo!bug® tags. These "green tags" deliver a frequency which repel mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, flies and no-see-ums.
• If a natural repellent is unavailable, the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children over 2 months of age use a repellent with 10-30 percent DEET. DEET should not be used on children under 2 months of age.
• Designate “no playing zones.” Pests are most commonly found in wooded or overgrown places where there is abundant 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. Remove brush and trash piles; store firewood away from your house, patios or decks; secure garbage cans; and keep garden areas clean.
• Brightly colored clothing attracts insects. Dress your kids in light-colored protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants, boots or sturdy shoes and a head covering so that pests such as fleas and ticks can be easily spotted and quickly removed.