Mosquitoes are a sad fact of life here in Central Texas, and with all the rain we have had, this year likely will be worse than usual. There is understandably a lot of concern about mosquito-borne illness.
There are several levels of mosquito avoidance to consider.
First, avoid times and places where mosquitoes are most likely to be active. Avoid any standing water. If you have a bird bath, change the water every two days. Remember that mosquitoes are most active around dawn and dusk.
Next, cover as much skin as possible! Dress in loose, light colored, long sleeved shirts and long pants, socks and shoes are better than sandals, hats on heads. You can get insect netting to cover infants/toddlers who are just sitting in an infant seat or stroller.
How do I protect myself from mosquito bites?
1. Wear insect repellent: Yes! It is safe. When used as directed, insect repellent is the BEST way to protect yourself from mosquito bites—even children and pregnant women should protect themselves. Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer lasting protection.
-DEET: Products containing DEET include Cutter, OFF!, Skintastic.
-Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin): Products containing picaridin include Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus, and Autan outside the United States).
-Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD: Repel contains OLE.
-IR3535: Products containing IR3535 include Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition and SkinSmart.
2. Cover up: When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.
3. Keep mosquitoes outside: Use air conditioning or make sure that you repair and use window/door screens.
Spray exposed skin, don’t forget the feet, but don’t spray the face. To avoid irritating the eyes, put the repellent on hands and rub it on the face. Use DEET 10% if you only need protection for 2 hours, use 30% DEET if you need 6 hours of protection. Don’t apply DEET to hands if your child sucks on thumb or fingers to prevent ingestion. When you come back inside WASH your child’s skin!
If, despite your best efforts, your child gets bitten, remember that a large hive does not mean your child has an allergy. For itchy bites
• Use hydrocortisone cream (no prescription) 3 times per day until the itch is gone
• If not available, apply a baking soda paste until you can get some.
• If neither is available, apply an ice cube in a wet washcloth for 20 minutes.