Saturday, May 26, 2012

Keep the bugs away

Keep Kids Safe From BugsLyme disease. Rocky Mountain spotted fever. West Nile virus. Flying fiends and crawling critters can spread such diseases with a bite.
Few cases put kids' lives at risk, say experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Still, some insects can threaten children's health, and you'd be wise to take precautions.
Many products seek to prevent bug bites, but one that can be applied to skin is very effective: DEET (usually listed on labels as N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide). The AAP recommends using products with no more than 30 percent DEET on children 2 months of age and older who will be exposed to insects that might cause diseases.

Longer ProtectionThe AAP says that DEET seems as safe in concentrations of 30 percent as in concentrations of 10 percent. Products containing more DEET provide longer, but not better, protection. Products that contain about 10 percent DEET are effective for about two hours, the AAP says. Products that contain about 24 percent DEET protect, on average, for about five hours. Products that contain more than 30 percent DEET do not offer much added benefit and are not recommended for children. One prudent approach, the AAP suggests, would be to select the lowest concentration effective for the amount of time your children will spend outdoors.
The CDC also recommends picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus. These repellants offer protection similar to low concentrations of DEET, when used in similar concentrations.
As  repellants, DEET, picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus repel some types of ticks, but permethrin kills ticks on contact, so it may be helpful to spray permethrin on clothes when playing or working in an area with lots of ticks. Permethrin is used as a spray for clothing only -- not for the skin.

Banish The BugsFor mosquitoes, use an insect repellent when needed. DEET, picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are recommended by the CDC. Read and follow the directions with care. Don't let children apply repellants to themselves.
  • Get rid of standing water where mosquitoes and other insects can breed.
  • Have kids avoid insect-prone areas in the early morning and late evening.
  • Dress children in long sleeves and long pants when appropriate. Have them wear a hat and keep long hair pulled back.
  • Dress children in light colored clothes.
  • Make sure windows screens are in good repair.
  • When hiking, stay on cleared trails to avoid ticks.
  • Check for ticks after you or your child has been outdoors. Do a thorough search for ticks, looking in particular behind the ears and along the hairline. It can take a tick up to 48 hours to pass on an infection, so the sooner a tick is found, the better your chances of avoiding illness.
    For Bee Stings, Remove the Stinger
    Being stung by a bee or a wasp can be an overwhelming experience. Stings can cause pain and allergic reactions, but you can minimize the effects if you act fast. When a bee stings, it leaves its stinger behind. When a person is stung, the stinger and its attached poison sac continue to pump poison into the victim, even when the stinger is no longer attached to the bee.
    If stung by a bee, wash the area with soap and water and remove the stinger immediately by wiping gauze over the area or by scraping a fingernail over the site. Never squeeze the stinger or use tweezers.
    After removing the stinger, ice the wound to ease the pain. A topical anesthetic might help, too. If you get multiple stings or have a severe allergic reaction, seek medical help at once.
    For most people, however, bee or wasp stings cause only local swelling, redness, and pain that usually last but a few hours.

    Insect Stings that most commonly cause allergic reactions
    Insects that are members of the Hymenoptera family most commonly cause allergic reactions. These include:

    • Bees
    • Wasps
    • Hornets
    • Yellow jackets
    • Fire ants

      Allergic Reactions by StingsUsually, the reaction is short-lived, with redness and swelling followed by pain and itching. Generally, the reaction lasts only a few hours, although some may last longer.
    For other people, however, allergic reactions to these insect stings can be life threatening. This severe reaction is a medical emergency that can involve organ systems throughout the body. The reaction is called anaphylaxis and can include severe symptoms such as:
    • Itching and hives over most of the body
    • Swelling of the throat and tongue
    • Difficulty in breathing and tightness in the chest
    • Dizziness
    • Headache
    • Stomach cramps, nausea, or diarrhea
    • Rapid fall in blood pressure
    • Shock
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Hoarse voice or swelling of the tongue
    Immediate medical attention is required.

    Avoidance of insects is the best preventive measure. Suggestions include:
    • When outdoors, be cautious of drinking from open soft drink cans. Stinging insects are attracted to them, and can crawl inside.
    • Keep food covered when eating outdoors.
    • Avoid sweet-smelling perfumes, hairsprays, and deodorants.
    • Avoid wearing bright-colored clothing with flowery patterns. 
    • Avoid going barefoot, and wear closed-toe shoes when walking in grassy areas.
    • When gardening, watch for nests in trees, shrubs, and flower beds.
    • Other areas in which to use caution: swimming pools, woodpiles, under eaves of houses, and trash containers.

      Specific treatment for insect stings will be determined by your physician based on:
    • Your age, overall health, and medical history
    • Extent of the reaction
    • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
    • Expectations for the course of the reaction
    • Your opinion or preference
    Suggestions for immediate treatment for highly-allergic people, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, include:
    • When possible, immediately remove stinger, and scrape over the area with a fingernail. However, do not squeeze the area, which may force the venom into the body.
    • An emergency treatment kit should be kept nearby at all times. Talk with your physician about what it should include.
    • Seek emergency care as soon as possible.

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1 comment:

  1. This blog's so helpful to me. I am planning to start a daycare & was searching for all the dos and donts with children. This really helped me in many departments. Upload these kinda blogs more often. Thanks.