Dengue has raised its tentacles again in India and every day new cases of this deadly disease are cropping up. We are all aware that Dengue is a disease caused by a virus which is transmitted to human if bitten by infected mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti). It can cause high fevers, headache, rashes and severe body pain. However, Dengue can turn into a more serious form called Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever which can be fatal if not treated.
Here are some steps that can help you prevent mosquito bites especially in children
Remove the causes of dengue Aedes mosquito is the main breed of mosquito which causes the infection. Mosquito breeding grounds like water swamps, unused tires, buckets, flower pots, air coolers etc. should be covered and standing water removed immediately.
Time of Dengue mosquito bitesThe Aedes mosquitoes bite at two peak periods i.e. late day and early evening. Usually the time period between 11 a.m to 4 p.m is considered to be the most dangerous for mosquito bites. Since most of our kids are at school during this time, talk to the school authorities regarding the steps they have taken to ensure prevention of mosquito bites. If at home make sure that children are covered properly and protected from mosquitoes.
Avoiding mosquito bites Make sure that kids wear light-colored clothing which covers most of their legs and hands. Do not let children near bushes, water bodies etc where you fear mosquitoes might be breeding. For babies, use carriers and cradles which have mosquito nets on them. Get mosquito meshes on doors and windows.
Use Mosquito repellents You can use electronic repellents for keeping mosquitoes at bay but remember that the fumes from these are inhaled by the kids and might cause allergic reactions. You can also use repellents which are either applied on the body or are in contact with the skin. There are two types of mosquito repellents i.e. Chemical or Plant based. Most chemical based repellents contain DEET which in high concentrations is unsafe for children.
If you are using a DEET based repellent then a concentration of no more 10% to 30% should be used for kids. A higher concentration of DEET means that it will last longer so use a lower concentration one and reapply it after a few hours. There are also some natural mosquito repellents available in India which are plant-based and have citronella and neem essence. Even today lots of houses in India burn neem leaves to keep the mosquitoes away.
TOP 5 Mosquito Repellents in India for Kids
Last Forest : Citronella Beeswax Balm
This is a completely natural mosquito repellent and completely safe and lots of moms I personally know have used and loved this product. Citronella oil is one of the essential oils obtained from the leaves and stems of different species of lemongrass and is popular as a natural insect repellent on playgrounds and campsites across the world. Its mosquito repellent qualities have been verified by research, including effectiveness in repelling the dreaded Aedes aegypti (dengue fever mosquito). This balm contains Citronella Oil in a base of beeswax, which effectively helps protect one from insect bites. Price: Rs 75/- for 20g.
Chicco Anti Mosquito Spray
This spray based on Citronella and Indian lilac gives off a sweet fragrance pleasant for the humans but unwelcoming to mosquitoes. This spray has been dermatologically tested and is alcohol-free. It has an emollient effect but leaves no grease or stains. Price : Rs 399/- for 100 gms.
Pigeon Anti Mosquito Wipes
These wipes claim to be DEET-free and provide upto 6 hours of protection from mosquitoes. I think these are especially one of the best mosquito repellents for outdoor use. Price Rs 115/-for 12 sheet pack.
Forest Essentials Citronella Diffuser Oil
Citronella oil as an essential oil is extremely effective against mosquitoes but the direct application of this oil is not recommended since it can cause skin allergies. Instead use citronella oil as a diffuser oil, add a few drops to water which when heated with candle will form vapors containing the oil which will keep the mosquitoes away. You can also put few drops on a bed sheet and use it under your regular bed sheet to ward off mosquitoes. Price: Rs 495/- for 15 ml.
This is probably one of the most common skin mosquito repellent used for kids in India. Odomos comes in gel, spray, lotion and cream forms. It basically masks the smell humans emit which is easily recognized by mosquitoes. This is probably the most cost-effective of all the mosquito repellents but it is chemical based so use sparingly. Price: Rs 75/- for 100 gms.
Keep these instructions in mind while using mosquito repellents:
They should be used only on babies more than six months old. It is best to use all natural repellents or mosquito nets for small babies.
You need to reapply the repellent after a few hours especially if you are living in a mosquito-prone area.
Sprays can be inhaled by children and cause allergies so use after checking with your pediatrician.
Never apply these repellents to eyes, mouth and lips and they should not be applied over broken skin, cuts or wounds.
I hope these tips help you and your kids to avoid mosquitoes during this dangerous dengue season. Remember let kids have fun, but keep them safe. If you know of any natural or eco-friendly mosquito repellents, please do let me know through comments below.