We are definitely in the “dog days of summer” and despite temperatures above 100 degrees (not just here in Texas either), it seems that insects thrive in hot weather. The mosquitoes here are just horrible and I see at least 2-3 patients a day that come in because their children have been bitten by “some bug”, most of which I believe are mosquito bites.
I have been surprised that so many of the parents who are bringing their children in to have their bites checked are not using any insect repellent. They seem shocked that their child can be bitten just walking into day care, or while on the playground for just 10 minutes, or even while they are in the pool. It only takes a second for that mosquito to swoop in and bite and you never even know it until you see that swollen bite later that day or even in the next morning. (It’s a mystery why children seem to have bigger reactions to the bite and plenty of of local swelling). Many parents are convinced that there are bed bug bites, but I truly believe these are just pesky mosquitos. I even got one the other morning while walking out my front door just to get the morning paper!
The best way not to “worry” about bites is to prevent them. For infants who are usually in a stroller I would use mosquito netting to start. It is easy to drape their carseat or stroller as you go outside. But as a baby gets older and is now outside more, and for those toddlers and older children the most important thing is to pick a mosquito repellent and use it.
If your children are going to camp or day care, use it in the morning before they are going outside. Reapply in the evening as well if you are going to spend time outside as well. You do not reapply insect repellent throughout the day like you do sunscreen, so pick the strength of repellent based on the amount of time you will be outside. Products with DEET, picardin, and oil of eucalyptus may be used in children (age dependent). See www.cdc.gov for a listing of insect repellents by brand.
Fortunately, to date (through the end of July 2013) there have only been a total of 53 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, with 3 deaths in the U.S. (Compare to 2012 with 5,674 cases of disease and 286 deaths).
While 35 states have reported WNV activity much of the middle of the country is not evening reporting activity (maybe we should all move for a few months). This is all great news. But we still have a lot of summer left, so keep using precautions and drain that standing water around your house as well ...this helps the entire community.