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Keeping Your Family Safe from Mosquitoes

Ever since the first case of Zika broke out in Singapore, the threat posed by mosquitoes has never seemed quite as daunting. Dengue had seemed bad enough, but at least it could be treated and people generally recovered from it. But Zika seemed threatening in a way that most hadn’t encountered before: It targeted not just our health, but more importantly, the unborn children carried by expecting mothers.

It’s important at this time to remain calm and take reasonable precautions, as well as to sustain a high level of vigilance in eradicating the mosquito threat.

Though there are no foolproof ways to avoid getting bitten by one of these bloodsucking insects, there are many precautions and natural mosquito repellents that you can utilise to keep your family as safe as possible.

Use an effective mosquito repellent

A quick search for affordable and effective mosquito repellents, or even regular bug spray would soon turn up the name DEET (Diethyltoluamide, N,N - diethyl - 3- methylbenzamide). This chemical is present in a large number of anti-mosquito products and there’s a good reason why. DEET is effective in warding off mosquitoes, sandflies, fleas and ticks.

When purchasing your repellent, read the label to find out the DEET percentage. According to the Royal Children’s Health Melbourne, repellents with a DEET percentage of between 7 and 10, are suitable for children in low-risk areas. Children who live in high-risk zones (that’s us by the way) may apply repellents with 16.5-19.5% DEET. Products containing DEET should not be used on babies below two months.

Use natural mosquito repellents

Since DEET is effective and found in most repellents, it may seem odd at first that parents around the world who are ever on the search for better ways to protect their offspring should fight shy of slathering their child in such products. Some parents are concerned that this chemical is causing adverse health effects to children down the line.

By substituting chemical repellents with natural plant oils, parents have found another effective mosquito repellent. Natural repellents can be made from citronella, lemongrass and peppermint. The downside is that these products have rather strong smell, have to be reapplied more frequently than commercial repellents, and may also not be suitable for very young children.

  1. Dress appropriately

It may be harder to convince your children to cover up in sunny Singapore, but this option does provide protection from mosquitoes without having to apply either chemical or natural repellents. By dressing your child in a long-sleeved shirt or dress, long pants and closed shoes, you’d be reducing the likelihood of him or her getting bitten. Covering up also provides an additional bonus by protecting your child’s delicate skin from the sun’s UV rays.

For additional protection, you could also make sure that loose clothes are tucked in properly to ensure that no mosquitoes have sneaked inside. However, it’s best not to tuck in the clothes too tightly, as mosquitoes are quite capable of piercing through the clothing. Dark-coloured clothing is also more attractive to mosquitoes than light-coloured ones. When heading outdoors, dress your child in white or cream shades, and avoid both dark and bright colours.

02 Aug 2018