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Dr. David Vigder

Northshore University HealthSystem

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West Nile Information/Tips:

Most people bitten by an infected mosquito won’t even get sick, and if they do get sick, it’s mild. Those most at risk for getting seriously ill are younger children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

If the red area around your mosquito bite continues to grow in size, becoming more swollen and painful, and/or drains pus, the bite is infected. Wash three times a day, treat with an antibiotic ointment, then cover with a fresh Band-Aid. Call your doctor if it’s not getting better or you’re concerned.

Repellents should contain no more than 30% DEET when used on children. Insect repellents are not recommended for children younger than 2 months. Use mosquito netting over strollers or baby carriers. Only apply on outside of children’s clothing and exposed skin. Do not spray on face. Using more does not make the repellent more effective. Do not use products that combine DEET with sunscreen. These can overexpose your child to DEET because the sunscreen has to be reapplied so often. Read directions on label to see how long it will last.

In the evening or in woods, wear light long-sleeve shirts and pants, but be aware that mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing. In woods, tuck pants into socks. If it’s too hot to wear long sleeves and pants, make sure your children are protected with bug spray.

Dab hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion, or a baking-soda paste onto itchy bites. A cool compress may help too. Call your doctor if bites become infected or if your child develops a fever or a bad headache.