Mosquitoes are an inevitable part of life in the tropics and they can carry diseases, such as dengue fever and malaria. Below are some tips on naturally managing mosquitoes, especially when it comes to kids:
1. Cover up, especially the feet and lower legs. Mosquitoes generally fly along the ground and most bites will occur on the exposed lower extremities. Also, wear light coloured clothing, as mozzies are attracted to dark colours.
2. Wear repellent. Natural, DEET-free products that are safe for kids include repellent sticker patches, such as Kiri, Akito and Mossi Guard; herbal repellent formulated for young children from Just Gentle; and lemongrass-citronella spray available in most pharmacies and supermarkets.
3. Use mosquito netting to protect your newborn in the stroller or car seat when outside, especially at night. Inside the house, use the netting over your baby’s crib while he or she sleeps.
4. Buy a mosquito trap or UV bug zapper. These inexpensive devices can make a big difference in outdoor areas, as well as in dark corners of your home. Also, turning on an electric fan when sitting outdoors will help shoo mosquitoes away, as they don’t like moving air.
5. Minimize kids’ exposure to mosquito breeding grounds, such as areas with dense vegetation and stagnant water. In your garden, cover standing water in the urns, and empty out children’s water toys, buckets and inflatable pools.
6. Do some basic home prevention, such as installing or repairing broken window screens – mosquitoes can always find a way into your house if you’re not careful.
7. Make your own herbal blend to spray in mosquito-ridden areas. Simply add 25 drops of any essential oil to 1/4 cup of water. Shake it up inside a spray bottle, and you’ve got a natural bug repellent! Spritz often for the best results.
8. Stop the itch with medicated ointments, such as Zam-Buk (works wonders!) or Tiger Balm. Imported anti-itch creams specifically for tots are also available at specialty baby boutiques. Some BKK parents have recommended placing a ‘warmed’ spoon on the bite to reduce swelling.