Your pediatrician’s advice on insect repellent

By Dr. Warton

Venture far from the safe confines of our High Desert hamlet in July and August and you’re likely to run into pesky mosquitos. Those little buggers can lurk around all day or wait to appear at night. Either way, they’ll ruin family fun pretty quickly.

Whether camping near a mountain lake or taking a trip to the valley, the American Academy of Pediatrics has some recommendations for insect repellent usage that will keep you and your kids enjoying summer break rather than battling itchy bites.

  • The AAP recommends that products containing DEET not be used on children young than 2 months old. Instead, use mosquito netting with an elastic edge to ensure a tight fit around a stroller.
  • Products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children younger than 3 years old.
  • Avoid products that contain both repellent and sunscreen because sunscreen generally should be reapplied more often than insect repellent.
  • Do not use repellents under clothes.
  • Never use repellents over cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
  • Do not spray directly on the face; apply with your hands.
  • Do not allow young children to apply repellents themselves.
  • Do not use sprays in enclosed areas or near food.
  • Reapply if washed off by sweating or getting wet.
  • Avoid reapplying repellents on young children unless necessary.
  • After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water or have the children bathe.
  • If your child develops a rash or other reaction from an insect repellent, wash the repellent off with soap and water and contact your pediatrician or call the U.S. poison control center at 800-222-1222 for guidance.
  • If a bite occurs, tell your child to try not to scratch the area, and dab it with alcohol or calamine. In addition, keep the area clean to prevent skin infections.

(source: AAP News)


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