Sunday, July 14, 2024
The Parents' Voice

Bug Safety

The effects that some bug bites may have on us and our children can make outdoor activities and events very hard to navigate with small children (and pets). I’ve been looking up some tips and tricks with hopes that it’ll help us handle the bugs for the rest of the summer.
Avoiding Bug Bites:

  • Most importantly get rid of all stagnant water in your yard or near your backyard. This means wheelbarrows, pails, sandboxes, gutters, flower pots, pools, water tables, and patio tables. A great tip is to drill holes in the bottom of things that do collect water, like a garbage can to avoid collecting water.
  • Wear light coloured, loose fitting clothing, long sleeved – stay away from bright colours. Use nets for strollers and car seats to keep babies away from the bugs. Screened in porches are the absolute most coveted things, how amazing to stay out all night safe from the bugs.
  • Avoid perfumes, and other strong smelling soaps and shampoos. Insects are attracted to these scents.
  • There are products you can install or have close by to help deter the bugs such as zappers, citronella candles, sticky traps etc.
  • Protect their skin. There are different opinions on what to use as bug spray. Some people preach that products with DEET are the only products that work, while others prefer staying away from chemical ingredients. After reading an interesting article at canadianliving.com, I understand what both types of repellents do. Repellents with DEET mask your scent so that biting insects can’t locate you, while natural repellents use odours (from natural essential oils) to mask the lactic acid scent on our bodies so that biting bugs can’t locate you. Whichever kind you’re going to use, use it. Protect your children’s skin before they head outside, especially at dusk when the sun is setting.
  • Sitting by a fire can sometimes help reduce the mosquitos – plus who doesn’t love sitting out by the fire?
    ildren have a tendency to scratch them until the bleed and scab. Use some antibacterial cream to avoid infections.

Ticks: Anywhere you look, the internet, tv, newspapers, friends and magazines everyone is worried about tick bites. It is so important to check your child’s body when they come in from outdoors. Checking their body is key. Train them in coming to you when they come inside for a check. Search their body (check all the folds, behind their knees, in their elbows, behind their ears, their hair), this is key. Ticks can be as small as a tiny speck. They embed in your skin leaving a small part of their body sticking up. If you do find a tick on your child and are not sure if you can remove it entirely, head to the ER or clicnic or at least call 811 for advice. If you do remove the tick bring it in to the hospital for it to be sent away and tested for lyme disease. If your child has a bug bite that looks like a bullseye on their body, have them checked by a doctor at emergency (or your family doctor if you can be seen quickly). They should be able to tell if it is a tick bite by the way it looks. It is important to see a doctor in case your child needs medication. We cannot hide from bugs and bug bites but we do have to be proactive in keeping ourselves and little ones safe, so make sure to check their bodies daily.

After the bites:

  • If all your efforts prove unsuccessful, treat the bites. My kids were eaten alive this past weekend, when we came in from outside we took a warm bath, washed all their skin and hair then lathered them with an after bite gel meant to take away the itch. It didn’t burn, it cooled the bites. It was a success here. There are a lot of products out there for you to try, whatever you choose have it on hand throughout the summer. We’ve also used toothpaste occasionally and it helps take the itch away as well.
  • Remind them to not scratch. Their bites may be itchy in the following days, keep an eye on them. Some children have a tendency to scratch them until the bleed and scab. Use some antibacterial cream to avoid infections.

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