Child with Mosquito Bites
Remember the countless times you have shooed or slapped away those little flying creatures trying to feast on your blood? Our poor little babies are not yet enlightened about these pointed fiends and fall easy prey to their bites. That weightless phantom buzzing around your ear is not only irritating but can be dangerous enough to spread diseases such as dengue, encephalitis, malaria and chikungunya. It’s important not to ignore their bites since they may cause allergies, infections and fever in your baby. In a tropical country like India, completely avoiding mosquitoes seems like a distant dream, so your best bet would be to minimize the chances that your precious little one gets stung by these blood sucking creatures.

Signs And Symptoms Of Mosquito Bites Infections In Babies

A baby can be attacked by pesky mosquitoes while playing outdoors, even if you keep a check inside your house. Ankles, necks, hands and face are the most common body parts where mosquitoes usually bite. These bites can be uncomfortable for the baby because of the swelling and constant itching. Sometimes, mosquito bites can cause serious diseases to the baby. Mosquito bites cannot be completely avoided but prevented to a large extent, and as parents you will need to be proactive and vigilant. Look for the following signs/symptoms of mosquito bites and how to protect your baby from those pesky brutes:

  • Swelling on the skin
  • Small red bump
  • Dark spots may appear a day or two after being bitten
  • An elevated area with pronounced white centre and red dot
  • Scratching by the infant indicative of itching

Seek immediate medical attention if below mentioned aggravated symptoms appear

  • Rashes
  • Swollen neck
  • Severe itching
  • Swelling of lips
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Trouble breathing
  • Bumps turn to blister or contain pus

Causes Of Mosquito Bites In Infants

Young children are attacked more by mosquitoes because they make easy preys and are not aware how to deal with them. Plus they are sweet too! Most common reasons children often get bitten by mosquito bites are:

  • Uncovered body parts: The exposed parts of your infant’s body are the main targets for mosquitoes. Dress him in loose, light-colored full sleeves, pyjamas and socks
  • Unhygienic environment: Get rid of stagnant water bodies or flower vases and decorative petal pans filled with water. Keep the garbage cans closed or dispose them quickly
  • Uncovered food: Food attracts everyone – and their sight and smell attracts mosquitoes. Keep food covered. Use exhaust fans/ventilators. Kitchen hygiene must be maintained at the highest levels when you have an infant at home
  • Baby bitten by Mosquito

  • Dampness: Avoid watering plants particularly during evening. Keep away wet clothes or towels. See to it that the roof is not leaking or the cement is not coming off
  • Decorative waterfalls: They look amazing in your porch with beautiful flashing lights and peaceful sound of gushing water but these may turn out to be one of those horrendous breeding hideouts
  • Sweat: Don’t let sweat sit on your little one, wipe it immediately. Mosquitoes are attracted to the warmth and smell. Keep a soft towel handy
  • Perfumed creams and lotions: Baby creams/powders/lotions containing perfume invite mosquitoes. Opt for non-aromatic creams

How Can I Treat Mosquito Bites On My Baby?

Treating mosquito bites in babies would involve 3 basic steps as enlisted below:

  1. Swelling: Once the baby is bitten, the area would swell, so you would need to eliminate swelling in the first go. A cold compres works rather fine, and so does perfume or deodorant that contains aluminum chloride. This will help in reducing the itch caused by the mosquito bite as well as the size of the bite
  2. Itching: Mosquito bites are itchy, and it is difficult to keep from scratching. These insects feast on our blood and then leave a residual saliva on the skin, that causes itching. Calamine lotions readily available in a house can be used to reduce and eliminate itching. You will also need to discourage scratching (that’s actually the tough part). Cut your child’s nails shorter so that he cannot scratch the bite area thus minimizing infections
  3. See the doctor: Signs of infections, redness, swelling, fever, vomiting or nausea indicate a serious underlying condition and you should seek your doctor’s advise as soon as possible

Remedies For Mosquito Bites and Stings in Infants

  • Antihistamine cream: You can apply mild anti-histamine creams available over the counter to the infected areas. This will reduce swelling and itching. For young babies, it would be wise to consult the doctor
  • Roll-on deodorant containing aluminium chloride: It is helpful and easy to carry in purse. Use it only in emergency!
  • Aspirin paste: Aspirin contains acetyl salicyclic acid, which is anti-inflammatory and combats infection. Crush a few aspirin tablets with water and apply the paste on bites
  • Listerine: Listerine mouthwash, particularly the menthol flavored can be diluted and dabbed with cotton over bites. This has a cooling effect and soothes the itch
  • Calamine: Anti-pruritic, treats rashes and stings. Applying calamine lotion on the bites will pacify itchiness
  • Hydrocortisone cream/gel: Cream/gel containing 1% hydrocortisone cream can be applied up to 4 times a day or as per the instructions. It’s better to consult the pediatrician before applying antibiotic creams especially if there is any discharge or blisters. Again, if there are too many bites, its best to consult a medic since it may become terribly itchy and infected!

Mosquito bite in baby

Natural remedies to Treat Mosquito Bites in Babies

  1. Chilled green tea bag: Simply refrigerate a dampened green tea bag and then apply it to the affected area. It is soothing and effectively calms down the itching
  2. Ice Ice baby: Applying ice to the bite reduces swelling and irritation. Wrap ice cubes in a soft cloth and hold it over the bite
  3. Cool damp cloth: Wet a clean soft cloth, wring out excess water and hold it with pressure on bite. This provides instant but temporary relief
  4. Banana peel: There are some interesting reviews on using the inside of banana peel as a measure against mosquito bites. This Chinese remedy settles the welts and lends fast relief from itching
  5. Natural antiseptics: In addition to Vaseline and toothpaste, tea tree oil, lemon, onion and mint leaves can also be applied. Although these may sting a bit, they are antiseptic and work favorably to distract your little one from itching

Your infant may ignore the repeated warnings to cease scratching those bites, it will be better to clip his nails so as to prevent any infections from scratching. Seek your child’s doctors’ advice if you notice any redness, swelling, or signs of infections, which can be indicative of dangerous diseases that mosquitoes often carry.
Mosquito nets

Preventing Mosquito Bites and Stings In Babies

  • Mosquito net: The good old net is so far the best and safest method of warding off mosquitoes. Buy a good quality mosquito net. First shoo away any mosquitoes around your baby’s crib, place you baby in the crib and tuck in the net tightly
  • Citronella oil: A common ingredient in repellents. Best to apply 2-3 drops of citronella oil on the exposed parts of your baby
  • Eucalyptus leaves/Neem leaves: Burn these leaves in the room before going to the bed or wrap them in a muslin cloth at appropriate corners of the house
  • Swatter: Since your child is an easy target, educate him about mosquitoes. Help him use the swatter as a fun game
  • Table fan: The strong blow of air will keep away the mosquitoes. Direct fan towards your baby from an appropriate distance
  • Child-friendly repellents: Using mosquito repellents – but use them sparingly. Lay your hands on the mosquito repellent bands, badges and creams like Odomos, Vicks and Avon Skin So Soft which are tried and tested safe for children
  • Spray repellents on clothes: Spraying repellents containing DEET/premerthin (in safe amounts containing upto 30% DEET) on the clothes/bedding/net will fend off mosquitoes
  • Dress baby in light-colored clothes: Dark colors invite mosquitoes
  • Ban their entry: Close doors and windows during evening to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home

So protect your child from mosquitoes and let him enjoy his childhood without any irritating buzzing and bites!