Date
23 July 2017
Apply some relief cream onto the mosquito bites. Not only could it reduce the itching feeling, it would lower the chance of damaging the skin due to over-scratching. Image: HKEJ
Apply some relief cream onto the mosquito bites. Not only could it reduce the itching feeling, it would lower the chance of damaging the skin due to over-scratching. Image: HKEJ

How to avoid mosquito bites

I guess everyone would have one or two friends who hate going to the countryside. Among the various reasons for the reluctance to venture on such expeditions is the fear of mosquito bites.

Parents would not be unfamiliar with such situation. After all, children are usually the victims of mosquitoes, suffering from extraordinarily serious bites and reactions.

What should the elders do then? What does it take to ensure that the kids can go on trips and still be safe?

Well, precautions must be taken by making sure that the children wear long-sleeved tops and trousers during the trips, and also carry mosquito repellents such as spray, patches, incenses and ultrasonic devices.

During outdoor camping, the kids must stay in well-protected and fully covered tents.

Such precautions are good, but there’s always the possibility that a mosquito or two will manage to get past all the barriers and manage to find its way to its target.

Very often when we realize that we have been bitten by a mosquito, the affected skin is already red and swollen.

It is classified as an inflammatory response. The symptoms include redness, swelling, pain and heat, but it may not necessarily involve bacterial infection.

Though mosquito bites could heal on their own, they are so itchy and uncomfortable that it could make the children restless.

Some bites might become secondary bacterial infection if children scratch too much of their skin and the bacteria, staphylococcus aureus, for example, enters the dermis and other soft tissues via open wounds on the damaged skin.

If the affected area comes with poor blood circulation, bacteria would grow fast, and might lead to cellulitis, which is a serious bacterial skin infection.

This is what usually parents are afraid of seeing when the affected area spreads over the limbs of their children. If it is accompanied by fever, the situation would be worrying and requires medical attention as this would imply complications.

In order to protect their kids, parents should bear in mind the following things.

1. Apply some relief cream onto the mosquito bites. Not only could it reduce the itching feeling, it would lower the chance of damaging the skin due to over-scratching.

2. Seek medical advice as whether the children should take oral antihistamines to stop the chain of reactions induced by the immune system.

3. If redness or swelling is serious, take the children to the family doctor.

4. Follow doctor’s advice and ensure proper intake of medicine, especially if antibiotics are prescribed.

5. Hospitalization might be required if skin inflammation is accompanied by fever in children.

No one is safe from mosquito bites. What we should do is take ample precautionary actions while enjoying the countryside.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 4

Translation by John Chui

[Chinese version 中文版]

– Contact us at english@hkej.com

JC/FC/RC

Waving your arm or leg to let mosquito fly away is way safer than swatting it. Photo: Internet


FHKAM (Paediatrics)

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