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Effective Strategies to Handle Mosquito Bites in Children

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Effective Strategies to Handle Mosquito Bites in Children

Jun 19, 2024

Learn how to handle mosquito bites effectively to ensure your child’s comfort during the summer season. Pediatrician Cindy Gellner, MD, discusses typical reactions to mosquito bites and rare allergies like Skeeter syndrome while providing a comprehensive guide to at-home treatments and preventive measures to protect your little ones from pesky mosquito bites.

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    Mosquito bites are something that we start seeing in springtime and they continue until winter hits and the mosquitoes finally go away for a bit. My husband likes to remind me that it's always the female mosquitoes that bite. It's actually a chemical in the mosquito's saliva that causes the bites to itch.

    Understanding Mosquito Bites and Reactions

    Many parents will come in and say that their child is allergic to mosquitoes. Well, it's actually very very rare to truly be allergic to mosquito bites. In fact, in 20 years I have only seen one case of it and it's called Skeeter syndrome. The person will have a significant amount of swelling, break out in hives, and sometimes a fever, and it makes the bite look like cellulitis, and very hot, tender skin. These patients may have welts up to four inches around within an hour of getting the bite. In contrast, most mosquito bites only swell to about an inch or less and that bump is more pink and is very itchy.

    Treating Mosquito Bites at Home

    Parents often worry if their child gets more than one or two mosquito bites and they'll bring their child to the doctor to see what to do. Well, the good news is they really don't need to see the doctor. Mosquito bites are easily treated at home. Putting calamine lotion on, over-the-counter hydrocortisone, and children's antihistamines such as cetirizine will help reduce your child's symptoms.

    Preventing Mosquito Bites

    The best thing to do would be to keep your child from getting bites in the first place. Insect repellents that contain DEET or more natural repellents containing lemon and eucalyptus can help. So can avoiding standing water, which is where mosquitoes lay their eggs. Wearing long sleeves and pants and staying inside at dusk, which is when mosquitoes are most active, is also a good idea.

    If your child gets a mosquito bite, try these tips for at home first. They can often save you a trip to the doctor.