Preventative Care

Preventing Mosquito Bites

By: Caroline Hart

As we welcome summer, we welcome some unwanted guests – mosquitoes! Read along to see how you can still have fun outside and enjoy the warm weather while avoiding those pesky mosquitoes. Some fun facts you may not know about mosquitoes are that only female mosquitoes bite humans. In contrast, male mosquitoes prefer flower nectar as their food source. Mosquitoes are also most active during a full moon.

But while mosquitoes may have some “fun” facts, we all know that being bitten by a mosquito is NOT fun. The best way to avoid this is by being prepared!

1. Look for insect repellents with the following ingredients:

    • DEET (the active ingredient in many repellent products)
    • Picaridin (repellent which can be used directly on skin or clothing)
    • IR3535
    • Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus
    • PMD (para-menthane-diol)
    • 2-undecanone
    • Permethrin
  1. Only apply repellent to clothes/fabric! Do not apply directly to the skin.
  2. Use protective covers:
    • Screens on windows/doors
    • Netting on beds
  3. Stay indoors at dawn/dusk.
  4. Avoid wetlands/areas of standing water.
  5. Take non-drowsy antihistamines daily during mosquito season if you are prone to bites.
    • Examples of over-the-counter antihistamines are cetirizine, loratadine, and fexofenadine.
  6. Replace outdoor lightbulbs with yellow bulbs.

You’ve tried to prevent the mosquitoes as best you can, but some still slip through. You may have a few types of reactions when bitten by a mosquito.

  1. Typical (normal) reaction
    • A red bump that peaks 20 minutes after the bite. These are usually itchy, firm bumps within 24-36 hours.
  2. Large local reaction
    • Itchy or painful areas of redness with warmth, swelling, and/or firmness ranging from 2 cm to 10 cm. This usually develops within hours of the bite.
    • This type of reaction is most common in:
    • Infants and young children
    • People frequently outdoors
    • People with primary or secondary immunodeficiency diseases

Based on the type of reaction you have, treatment options may vary.

  1. Typical (normal) reaction
    • Non-drowsy antihistamine (cetirizine, loratadine, fexofenadine)
    • Hydrocortisone cream
  2. Large local reaction
    • Non-drowsy antihistamine (cetirizine, loratadine, fexofenadine)
    • Topical corticosteroid cream (prescription strength)
    • Systemic steroids may be needed if swelling is affecting vision, ingestion of food/liquid, or ambulation
    • Make an appointment with your pediatrician

Good luck in the fight against mosquitoes this season! We’re here for you at Parkside Pediatrics. Call us at 864-272-0388 with any questions or concerns or to make an appointment.


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