By Rajesh Vohra
In the current season and various times across the year, hardly do we get any respite from being exposed to insects such as mosquitoes. But when summers are right around the corner, the seasonal transitions primarily lead to an increased proliferation of mosquitoes.
Babies and young children are all the more unprepared to deal with mosquitoes and hence become easy targets for them. Given the sensitive skin of babies and young children, the mosquito bites can even lead to irritation and allergic reactions along with long-lasting skin rashes that further can be difficult to deal with, for parents. More so, mosquitoes could be a potential carrier of diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and malaria.
In the case of babies, one has to be extra cautious as it is important to make sure that they are protected from mosquito bites. As an effort to protect your baby from mosquito bites, here are some easy steps to follow.
Choose the right mosquito repellent
The best way to protect your little one is by simply including anti-mosquito repellent in his/her daily regime.
* Specially formulated for babies: You should ideally choose a mosquito repellent especially formulated for babies. Given the fact that the baby’s skin is soft and sensitive, it is advisable to use anti-mosquito products (gel or spray) with delicate formulation which not only protects them from mosquitoes but is also gentle on their skin.
* Natural and gentle protection: Look out for anti-mosquito repellents that are made of natural ingredients, which protect your child delicately and naturally without the use of any aggressive or harsh substances.
* Should be safe on a baby’s skin: While mosquito repellents are an effective way to keep mosquitoes at bay and save the baby’s skin from being bitten, some of these repellents may be too strong for their skin, and may cause irritation and rashes. Hence, it is important to choose a mosquito repellent that is dermatologically tested.
* Look out for features such as: free from alcohol, added colours and synthetic perfumes as these may irritate the baby’s skin.
360 degree protection: The mosquito repellent should be such that it provides protection from almost all mosquitoes including the ones spreading dengue and chikungunya.
* Avoid using scented/perfumed products: Other than being attracted to dark and bright colours, mosquitoes are also attracted to a variety of floral and fruity scent perfumes. So, it is best to make sure that your baby does not wear them.
Keep mosquito nets ready-to-use
Nets can be very effective if used well and the advantage is that they have no negative health effects. If you share your bed with your baby, you can install a big net over your bed making sure that it has no openings. If your baby sleeps in a cot next to your bed, you can also opt for a mosquito net for the cot. Similarly, you can also use a mosquito net for strollers when you are taking your baby out in the evening. It would be preferable to use a net made of fine mesh fabric with elastic edging that easily fits to the cot / stroller. While doing so, make sure that no mosquitoes are caught under the net.
Dress to protect
One of the most effective ways of protecting your baby is to minimise the area of exposed skin. Choose lightweight knits and cotton garments that allow the passage of air while covering your child’s body. Especially towards the end of summer and the initial rainy season when mosquitoes breed the most, younger babies can be dressed in body-suits that cover as much of the body as possible. For older infants, dress them up in full-sleeved shirts, long pants and shoes to protect them from mosquitoes.
(The writer is CEO, Artsana India. In assistance with Chicco Osservatorio Centre.)
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