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Mosquito Bites and Children

Updated on March 2, 2017
CC-BY, Via Wikimedia Commons
CC-BY, Via Wikimedia Commons | Source
My daughter sporting her first bite to her cheekbone. We moved the pool to the deck to prevent any more attacks.
My daughter sporting her first bite to her cheekbone. We moved the pool to the deck to prevent any more attacks. | Source
My son with one bite on his left eye. The infection spread to the right side of his face. Both Eyes were closed up the following day.
My son with one bite on his left eye. The infection spread to the right side of his face. Both Eyes were closed up the following day. | Source

The Itch is Back!

A few weeks ago I had a dilemma. It was the most beautiful day and I wanted to take my four children outside to play in the backyard. I applied the proper sun block suitable for children under five. All wore their sunglasses and toted safe, appropriate toys for their specific age group. The walkers (my oldest three) are 2, 3 and 4, respectively. The youngest just bounces in his chair, but he was with us too. So here was the dilemma. The walkers have all suffered severe, but not life threatening reactions to mosquito bites in the past. I mean almost temporarily disfiguring reactions that go beyond those annoying little pink welts. I originally feared West Nile Virus, but the doctor ruled that out and said it was an exaggerated reaction. Within five days of the bite, each child's face swelled up like a basketball. In each instance it took four weeks for the swelling to go away, but the eye area remained red and wrinkly and took nearly six months to heal. I wasn't that concerned about the appearance. What made my heart ache was hearing my children tell my husband and me that out kisses hurt their heads six weeks after the bites.I really did not want my family to relive this nightmare.

What I Have Learned

I was shocked. Our pediatrician saw each of the children and warned us each time a bite appears close to the eyes and forehead it has a greater chance of spreading disease to the brain. If the mosquito is carrying a virus, it has a straight shot in younger children due to their immature immune systems. I grew up in a rural area and played outdoors until well after dusk. Although my mother doused me with Off! I received hundreds of bites, but they never grew to more than a dime sized bump.

Impetigo CC-BY, Via Wikimedia Commons
Impetigo CC-BY, Via Wikimedia Commons | Source

More than Just an Itchy Nuisance

The other less extreme conditions due to mosquito bites are scabbing and scarring after a child scratches the bumps. However, this scratching can lead to impetigo, a strep infection of the skin that is extremely contagious.

Don't Get Bit!

I realize I may seem over protective, but with a four month old I have to take every precaution necessary. I thought my pediatrician was being cavalier or just plain sarcastic when he said, "Just don't get bit." Sure, tell that to my children who want to roll down the hill in our backyard. I never had to face such restrictions and I didn't want my children to be deprived of outside play.However, he was right. I realized that prevention was the only way to avoid the twenty-some doctor's office visits, gallons of antihistamine and hours of itching and pain my children suffered in summers past.

My husband and I put together an action plan. These concepts are not new, but they scream common sense.

  • Keep children inside early morning and early evening when the mosquitoes come out to munch. We just douse them in extra sunscreen and wear our sun hats.
  • Dress in shoes and socks when playing in grassy areas that may be wet.
  • If the grass is wet with dew or rain, stay off the grass. We play up on our deck with chalk, balls, bubbles or we dance.
  • Drain the kiddie pool each night. We also moved ours up on our deck.
  • My favorite: Ask neighbors who have items on their property that accumulate water to eliminate them or drain the water daily. After All, West Nile Virus also affects adults and the elderly.
  • Use the strongest insecticide you can for you children's age. Some people refuse to use the ones containing DEET. I was one of those parents until I read that DEET is one of the most studied mosquito repellents and is considered very safe. I use one that contains a 10% solution. Note: It is recommended that the child bathe or shower after playing outdoors. Ours go straight into the tub anyway after playing outside.

The video below gives practical advise on treating the itch and discomfort of mosquito bites.

Do you consider products with DEET harmful compared to the benefits?

Submit a Comment

  • Raitu Disong profile image

    Raitu Disong 4 years ago

    I just hate the mosquitoes!

    So small but could do so much harm...

    Well thank you Elsen for giving me the tips to fight against the mosquitoes!

  • LA Elsen profile image

    LA Elsen 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

    Thanks for commenting Indian Chef. My doctor told me in children mosquito and tick and spider bites near the head especially the eyes can lead to encephalitis. My daughters and sons heads swelled so large at the site. The pictures in my hub are several days later. Web MD has a good section on encephalitis. Take care.

  • Indian Chef profile image

    Indian Chef 4 years ago from New Delhi India

    LA I am really surprised to know that your doctor told you that if a mosquito bites below the eyes it can spread to brain . I come from an area full of mosquito and malaria here is as common as McDonald there. But we never heard that. And India do not have many cases of Brain fever. So either we are kept in dark or.....

  • LA Elsen profile image

    LA Elsen 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

    Thank you kj force. I have never heard of neem oil. Where car you find it? I will definitely try the garlic spray on my kids.

  • kj force profile image

    kjforce 5 years ago from Florida

    La Elsen...Thank you for sharing...this is a subject that affects DEET safe ? we don't always know exactly what chemicals might do to our bodies..especially children.

    I discovered years ago 1 part chopped fresh garlic to 5 parts water in a spray bottle kept mosquitoes from biting my children ( spent hours with our horses..I used Avon skin so soft on horses) moisten a couple cotton balls and place in pockets also helps..

    Neem oil is a natural vegetable oil extracted from the Neem tree in India. The leaves, seeds and seed oil of the Neem tree contain sallanin, a compound which has effective mosquito repelling properties and is a natural product safe to use. Just thought I would share with for the swelling/itching..baking soda bath..enjoy your week-end..

  • LA Elsen profile image

    LA Elsen 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

    Thank Casimiro. I will have to try the Cactus Juice product. I hate to stay indoors if we don't have to.

  • profile image

    Casimiro 5 years ago

    Some good tips LA! Especially the one about draining sources of water that the mosquitoes use for breeding. They only need about a quarter inch of water to propagate. I try to go light on the DEET myself, but it does work well. There is a product called (I think) Cactus Juice or something like that. It is natural and very effective. Good hub, voted up.

  • LA Elsen profile image

    LA Elsen 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

    Teaches12345 - I'm sorry you had to suffer too. Good to know you can grow out of it. My kids are troupers now and I have to say it looks like the oldest is not swelling up from her bites as much as the photo. Thanks for commenting!

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

    As a child, my mosquito bites would swell more than normal. They looked similar to the photos shown. I am thankful that nothing has transpired from those bites! Good information to know here and thanks for posting.