As we move further into the spring, it’s very likely that we’ll start seeing a steady increase in the mosquito population. With this increase, we can also expect to see a rise in mosquito bites and the various diseases that they carry, such as malaria and dengue. While adults may have a better chance of withstanding the diseases, your children have less robust immune systems and are at great risk of infection. Even a fairly mild case can leave your child incapacitated for a time and in worst case scenarios, you may need to take your child to the hospital.
Such diseases are not invulnerable. There exist many ways of protecting your kids from mosquito bites and disease. Here is a short list of some of the more practical methods, which you can put into practise to protect your children from infection and disease.
Keep Water Around Your Home Clean
Mosquitos breed in stagnant water, so it’s important that you keep aware of any potential sources so that you can prevent them from becoming new hatching grounds. If you have any rain or water barrels, make sure they’re covered, and avoid letting water stand in flower pots or buckets for too long. Fallen leaves and discarded tires can also retain rainwater, creating additional areas for eggs to be laid. It takes about ten days for mosquito eggs to hatch, so you should clean these areas regularly.
If you have any ponds or other decorative standing water, add a touch of kerosene oil to the surface prevent mosquitos laying eggs. A more environmentally sound alternative is to add fish that eat mosquito eggs and larvae, such as goldfish, mosquito fish, or minnows.
Use Screens on All Doors and Windows
Wire mesh screens and insect nets can help prevent insects from entering your home through doors or windows without blocking them off, allowing you to keep your home insect-free while still enjoying a good level of airflow. These sorts of nets can be found most hardware or soft furnishing stores. If you’re not sure if a net will fit your windows, ask about having one specially fitted for you.
Also check each mesh screen to see how it should be cleaned, and they should be cleaned regularly to stop dust clogging up the mesh.
Be vigilant about holes and gaps, which will allow mosquitos access. In order to better protect your children from bites, you should check your nets at least once a week and repair any damage as best as you can. If necessary, replace the screen completely. Check constantly for cracks and gaps in the windows and door frames themselves, which will also allow access to pests.
Keep a Clean House
Never leave food or dirty plates around the house, especially in any children’s rooms. These will attract insects of all kinds, including mosquitos. Make sure plates and food are cleared immediately. Ensure that dust and debris are cleared as well, as these too may prove attractive to insects. Clutter, meanwhile, provides inviting hiding spots for pests. So always make sure you maintain a clean and tidy home.
Try to avoid floral or sweet fragrances while cleaning, however tempting it may be. Mosquitos are equally as attracted to a house that smells too sweet as they are to a house that’s littered with waste. Instead, try to use air fresheners that remove odours rather than tries to mask them.
In general insects are attracted to darker colours. As such, try to dress your children in brightly coloured clothing. And while it may be tempting to leave arms, legs and shoulders bare, it’s best to keep them covered so as to reduce the amount of skin for mosquitos to bite. To keep your children cool and protect them from overheating, use light cotton clothing that provides as much airflow as possible. For the baby’s crib or buggy, use a mosquito net.
Use Insect Repellent
Ask your paediatrician about insect repellents that are suitable for use on children, and apply once in the morning and once again at night to reduce insect bites. Never apply too much in one day, and closely follow the instructions given on the label. Do not use on any open cuts or grazes, nor around the eyes and mouth.
A natural insect repellent is garlic. Adding a little more garlic to your meals, then, will help repel mosquitos.
Make Sure Your Children’s Vaccines Are Up To Date
Make sure your children are all up to date with their jabs and vaccines. This helps provide maximum protection for any diseases that mosquitos carry, and ensure that any bites have a greatly reduced chance of causing an actual infection. If you’re unsure when your next round of vaccines are due, ask your family doctor or walk into your local Night Lite Pediatrics care center.
Christian Mills is a freelance writer and family man who offers advice and articles to the online community about a variety of subjects that affect the home and family life.