How do I keep the bugs away?
Not all insects are as lovely as ladybugs and butterflies. But don’t let them keep you and your baby inside.
- Mosquitoes: First, learn how to keep mosquitoes from making a home in your backyard . Then, just so you are aware, check with your local public health department to find out if there are any known mosquito-borne diseases in your area (e.g. West Nile Virus).
- Ticks: Ticks live in warm and humid environments, especially in woody or grassy areas, so it’s best to avoid these environments with a baby. As a precaution, dress baby in light-colored clothing, so ticks can be spotted easily. Check your baby’s skin and hair for ticks when you come inside. Remember that the deer tick can carry Lyme disease and is only about the size of a sesame seed. Make sure you remove any ticks properly and consult your pediatrician.
- Stinging insects: Bees, wasps, and other stinging insects don’t attack unless provoked, but babies might annoy one by accident. If your baby does get stung, it will most likely cause some swelling and pain that will be relieved in a few hours. It is important to remove the stinger – use a credit card or fingernail and gently scrape it off horizontally. Then soak a cloth in cold water and press it over the area to reduce the pain and swelling.
- Allergic reaction: In rare instances, your baby may be allergic to bee stings, which is very dangerous. Symptoms of this allergy include: Rash over many parts of her body, shortness of breath, swollen tongue, hands, or face, weakness, and unconsciousness. Call 911 immediately.
- Bug repellent: Bug repellents labeled “for the whole family” can usually be used once a child is over two months old. Talk with your pediatrician before using bug repellent on your baby.