Preventing Dengue and Top 5 Mosquito Repellents for Kids in India

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Dengue has raised its tentacles again in India and every day new cases of this deadly disease are cropping up. We are all aware that Dengue is a disease caused by a virus which is transmitted to human if bitten by infected mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti). It can cause high fevers, headache, rashes and severe body pain. However, Dengue can turn into a more serious form called Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever which can be fatal if not treated.

Here are some steps that can help you prevent mosquito bites especially in children

Remove the causes of dengue Aedes mosquito is the main breed of mosquito which causes the infection. Mosquito breeding grounds like water swamps, unused tires, buckets, flower pots, air coolers etc. should be covered and standing water removed immediately.

Time of Dengue mosquito bitesThe Aedes mosquitoes bite at two peak periods i.e. late day and early evening. Usually the time period between 11 a.m to 4 p.m is considered to be the most dangerous for mosquito bites. Since most of our kids are at school during this time, talk to the school authorities regarding the steps they have taken to ensure prevention of mosquito bites. If at home make sure that children are covered properly and protected from mosquitoes.

Avoiding mosquito bites Make sure that kids wear light-colored clothing which covers most of their legs and hands. Do not let children near bushes, water bodies etc where you fear mosquitoes might be breeding. For babies, use carriers and cradles which have mosquito nets on them. Get mosquito meshes on doors and windows.

Use Mosquito repellents You can use electronic repellents for keeping mosquitoes at bay but remember that the fumes from these are inhaled by the kids and might cause allergic reactions. You can also use repellents which are either applied on the body or are in contact with the skin. There are two types of mosquito repellents i.e. Chemical or Plant based. Most chemical based repellents contain DEET which in high concentrations is unsafe for children.

If you are using a DEET based repellent then a concentration of no more 10% to 30% should be used for kids. A higher concentration of DEET means that it will last longer so use a lower concentration one and reapply it after a few hours. There are also some natural mosquito repellents available in India which are plant-based and have citronella and neem essence. Even today lots of houses in India burn neem leaves to keep the mosquitoes away.

 TOP 5 Mosquito Repellents in India for Kids

Last Forest : Citronella Beeswax Balm

 This is a completely natural mosquito repellent and completely safe and lots of moms I personally know have used and loved this product. Citronella oil is one of the essential oils obtained from the leaves and stems of different species of lemongrass and is popular as a natural insect repellent on playgrounds and campsites across the world. Its mosquito repellent qualities have been verified by research, including effectiveness in repelling the dreaded Aedes aegypti (dengue fever mosquito). This balm contains Citronella Oil in a base of beeswax, which effectively helps protect one from insect bites. Price: Rs 75/- for 20g. Available at beaute naturelle.

Chicco Anti Mosquito Spray

This spray based on Citronella and Indian lilac gives off a sweet fragrance pleasant for the humans but unwelcoming to mosquitoes. This spray has been dermatologically tested and is alcohol-free. It has an emollient effect but leaves no grease or stains. Price : Rs 399/- for 100 gms.

Pigeon Anti Mosquito Wipes

 

These wipes claim to be DEET-free and provide upto 6 hours of protection from mosquitoes. I think these are especially one of the best mosquito repellents for outdoor use. Price Rs 115/-for 12 sheet pack. 

Forest Essentials Citronella Diffuser Oil

Citronella oil as an essential oil is extremely effective against mosquitoes but the direct application of this oil is not recommended since it can cause skin allergies. Instead use citronella oil as a diffuser oil, add a few drops to water which when heated with candle will form vapors containing the oil which will keep the mosquitoes away. You can also put few drops on a bed sheet and use it under your regular bed sheet to ward off mosquitoes. Price: Rs 495/- for 15 ml. 

 Odomos Naturals

This is probably one of the most common skin mosquito repellent used for kids in India. Odomos comes in gel, spray, lotion and cream forms. It basically masks the smell humans emit which is easily recognized by mosquitoes. This is probably the most cost-effective of all the mosquito repellents but it is chemical based so use sparingly. Price: Rs 75/- for 100 gms.

Keep these instructions in mind while using mosquito repellents:

They should be used only on babies more than six months old. It is best to use all natural repellents or mosquito nets for small babies.

You need to reapply the repellent after a few hours especially if you are living in a mosquito-prone area.

Sprays can be inhaled by children and cause allergies so use after checking with your pediatrician.

Never apply these repellents to eyes, mouth and lips and they should not be applied over broken skin, cuts or wounds.

I hope these tips help you and your kids to avoid mosquitoes during this dangerous dengue season. Remember let kids have fun, but keep them safe. If you know of any natural or eco-friendly mosquito repellents, please do let me know through comments below.

 

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  1. Hi Swapna,

    Great read.. We were just thinking about ways to keep our daughter mosquito safe at school and this article is super helpful.

    Thank you.
    Mayank’s recent fabulous post…How to Organize Your Facebook Page Likes into Interest Lists for Visibility, Engagement and InteractionMy Profile

    • Hi Mayank, thanks for your comment. Since my husband is a doctor, he has been having a first hand account of these dengue cases and majority of them are kids. Prevention is always better than cure, so I am really glad that you liked the tips. :)

  2. My 9 month daughter is diagnosed with Bite allergy and has rashes / boils all over her body. I’m told by my pedeatrician as well as skin specialist that prevention is the only way out for her. Post that I have spent a lot of time reading and understanding the available repellents.

    In this regard I would like to bring to all readers notice that whether we like it or not, Odomos is the only way put (or any other cream containing DEET as their active ingredient. Citronella Oil and Pigeon wipes ( I tried to figure out their active ingredient, but it is of not much use) are all ineffective. Mosquito patches as well as wrist bands are also ineffective.

    I’ll post my findings and relevant links.

    • I feel for you and your daughter Minita. No parent wants to see their child in pain and I can understand how much this must disturb you. I am really thankful to you for sharing this information with all our readers. It is invaluable information for us parents.

  3. Efficiency of DEET (The active ingredient in Odomos)

    A study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine, July 2002, tested the relative efficacy of seven botanical insect repellents; four products containing N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide, now called N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET); a repellent containing IR3535 (ethyl butylacetylaminopropionate); three repellent-impregnated wristbands; and a moisturizer that is commonly claimed to have repellent effects.

    DEET-based products provided complete protection for the longest duration. Higher concentrations of DEET provided longer-lasting protection. A formulation containing 23.8 percent DEET had a mean complete-protection time of 301.5 minutes. A soybean-oil–based repellent protected against mosquito bites for an average of 94.6 minutes. The IR3535-based repellent protected for an average of 22.9 minutes. All other botanical repellents we tested provided protection for a mean duration of less than 20 minutes. Repellent-impregnated wristbands offered no protection.

    Other Repellents
    Thousands of plants have been tested as potential botanical sources of insect repellent. Most plant-based insect repellents currently on the market contain essential oils from one or more of the following plants: citronella, cedar, eucalyptus, peppermint, lemongrass, geranium, and soybean. Of the products we tested, the soybean-oil–based repellent was able to protect from mosquito bites for about 1.5 hours. All other botanical repellents that we tested in our initial studies, regardless of their active ingredients and formulations, gave very short-lived protection, ranging from a mean of about 3 to 20 minutes. Preliminary studies suggest that the oil-of-eucalyptus products will confer longer-lasting protection than other available plant-based repellents

    Safety of DEET
    Despite the substantial attention paid by the lay press every year to the safety of DEET, this repellent has been subjected to more scientific and toxicologic scrutiny than any other repellent substance. The extensive accumulated toxicologic data on DEET have been reviewed elsewhere.DEET has a remarkable safety profile after 40 years of use and nearly 8 billion human applications. Fewer than 50 cases of serious toxic effects have been documented in the medical literature since 1960, and three quarters of them resolved without sequelae. Many of these cases of toxic effects involved long-term, heavy, frequent, or whole-body application of DEET. No correlation has been found between the concentration of DEET used and the risk of toxic effects. As part of the Reregistration Eligibility Decision on DEET, released in 1998, the Environmental Protection Agency reviewed the accumulated data on the toxicity of DEET and concluded that “normal use of DEET does not present a health concern to the general U.S. population.” When applied with common sense, DEET-based repellents can be expected to provide a safe as well as a long-lasting repellent effect. Until a better repellent becomes available, DEET-based repellents remain the gold standard of protection under circumstances in which it is crucial to be protected against arthropod bites that might transmit disease.

    According to the US Enviromental Protection Agency (EPA), DEET is approved for use on children with no age restriction. There is no restriction on the percentage of DEET in the product for use on children, since data do not show any difference in effects between young animals and adult animals in tests done for product registration. There also are no data showing incidents that would lead EPA to believe there is a need to restrict the use of DEET. Consumers are always advised to read and follow label directions in using any pesticide product, including insect repellents. http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/factsheets/chemicals/deet.htm

  4. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that insect repellents containing deet are safe for children as young as 2 months. Bug repellents with deet come in varying strengths — some contain up to 30-percent deet. A higher concentration of deet doesn’t mean a product is stronger, only that it lasts longer.

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