Protecting your kids from mosquito bites

Scientists are still baffled as to why certain people are mosquito magnets while the people next to them are mosquito repellants. Prevention is the best cure. Here are some ideas I've collected from the internet.

Remember that mosquitoes mostly start entering houses during sunset, so if you take a few precautions even just during this time of the day, you will substantially reduce the number ofmosquitoes entering your house. However, this is not going to help with those mosquitoes already inside your house.

  • Dress your infant or small child in long sleeves and long pants--even if it's really hot. Choose a light fabric to cover their bare legs and arms. Mosquitoes are attracted to bright colors.
  • If you have mosquitoes in your house, your children and infants should wear loose long-sleeved pajamas and sleep under a light sheet.
  • A moving fan may prevent mosquitoes from landing near a crib, but be sure it is not within reach of the baby or small child.
  • Apply insect repellent to children's clothing too.
  • Apply permethrin-containing mosquito repellent to your clothing, shoes, and camping gear and bed netting. You can also buy clothing made with permethrin already in it.
  • Plant marigolds around your patio area and places where childrenplay. Marigolds are a natural insect repellent. Lemon grass is also a natural repellent. These plants help but do not completely repel mosquitoes.
  • Light citronella candles on your porch or patio in the evenings when the family is out. Citronella candles reduce mosquito bites by 42% and citronella incense reduces bites by 24%.
  • Make sure to trim your child's nails. If the child has a bite this will keep the bite from becoming infected if he or she does scratch. Cold vinegar helps relieve the itch and sting.
  • Mosquitoes breed in still water. Take a look around your yard and empty out any rubbish that may hold water.
  • Empty pot plant trays at least weekly or put sand in them to take up the water.
  • Keep fish such as small native fish in fishponds or unused swimming pools to eat the baby mosquitoes (wrigglers) as they breed.
  • Keep swimming pools chlorinated.
  • Empty paddling pools each day, as soon as the children have finished playing in them.
  • Empty birdbaths and pets' drinking water bowls at least weekly.
  • Put a screen over inlets to rain water tanks (no more than 1mm diameter holes in the screen).
  • Use insect screens with fine mesh on windows and doors in houses, tents or caravans.
  • Use a mosquito net over beds if mosquitoes cannot be kept out (make sure the net is secure so that a child cannot get tangled in it).

The major problem here in Shanghai is that most compounds use insecticide again and again despite the government telling them not to do so. The mosquitos are no super resilient and are around most of the year, even in winter!

Convince your compound to invest in real mosquito traps (CO2), they're expensive, but if placed correctly, kill up to 2 million mosquitos a day. The compound should also avoid draining the ponds, as they leave a little water when doing so, creting the perferc breeding conditions for mosquitos. It is also a good idea to put mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis) in ponds, lakes and artificial creeks inside the compound.

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