Mosquito coils and repellents are our go-to devices to ward off mosquitoes and avoid getting bitten. But, are these mosquito coils safe for a baby?
By Ashwin Dewan
Mosquitoes pose a serious threat to our health. Their incessant buzzing followed by the biting make for a bad combination. Mosquitoes are more than annoying pests that suck our blood – they are responsible for some of the deadliest and dangerous diseases known to mankind such as malaria, chikungunya and dengue.
To counter these diseases, a variety of mosquito coils, repellents, creams, roll-on sticks and body sprays are available in the market. Most of these are effective, to a certain extent, but are they safe to use on a baby? A look at some of these in detail:
1. Mosquito coils: Mosquito coils are commonly used to provide protection from mosquitoes in India. However, when these coils are used for a long time indoors, they pollute the air in the area where they are kept. Babies should not be exposed to the fumes of these coils as it may lead to headaches, coughs, nausea and dizziness. Long-term exposure may include allergies, asthma and respiratory irritation.
Keep the baby in another room when the coil is burning. Bring the baby into the room only after opening the windows and remember to keep a burning coil away from the baby as it can result in serious burns.
A safe way would be to use the vaporiser for some time in the room for the mosquitoes to clear out and switch it off before bringing the baby into the room. Plug-in repellents are also useless in case there is a power cut.
Note: Plug-in repellents often have bright indicator lights that may attract babies, so parents should ensure that it is out of reach of the baby.
2. Creams, roll-on sticks and body sprays: Applying creams or roll-on sticks can protect a baby for a limited time. As creams and roll-on sticks last for only a few hours, they need to be applied again. One should choose a repellent that is best suited to babies.
For babies over the age of two months, repellents with up to 30 percent of DEET (N, N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) is recommended. Parents should also remember to apply DEET and other repellents only to clothing and to exposed skin.
3. Body sprays: Mosquito sprays should be sprayed in open areas and never indoors. Parents should avoid the baby inhaling the spray. Fumes from sprays are not safe for a baby as they cause breathing problems.
There are many ways to tackle the mosquito menace. However, there is no one sure method to thwart the mosquitoes. By following the tips in this article, parents can protect their babies from mosquitoes.
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