Redness, swelling, and an unbearable itch: your kids can be outside for mere seconds, and suddenly, they're covered in big, bright bites. You might be wondering why your child gets so many mosquito bites and their friends and relatives remain unscathed. There's actually a scientific reason behind this unfortunate situation, and we have ways to keep these little vampires at bay!
Why Does My Child Get So Many Mosquito Bites?
There are three main reasons children get bitten by mosquitos more often than their peers. Here's what parents need to know.
They Have Type O Blood
The number one reason your kids are more prone to mosquito bites is their blood type. It's ironic that the universal donor is the mosquito's favorite source of blood. Experiments show that folks with Type O blood, both positive and negative, are almost twice as likely to get bitten by mosquitos compared to those individuals with an A blood type. Sadly, there is no remedy to this situation, so parents of kids with O blood should take extra precautions to protect their little ones from mosquitoes.
They Are Active
When you exercise, "your body uses more oxygen and produces more carbon dioxide." Your temperature also becomes elevated. The two main ways in which mosquitos find their victims are through heat and CO2. Mosquitoes also simply love the smell of sweat. Thus, the kids who are bubbling with energy and actively involved in sports are more prone to mosquito bites.
They Are Wearing Certain Shades
Interestingly enough, mosquitos also prefer hosts who wear certain colors. A study conducted at the University of Washington found that some species of mosquitoes will fly "toward specific colors, including red, orange, black and cyan." Since all human skin has some type of red-orange pigment, this actually makes sense. What this means is that your child's wardrobe matters, especially if they have an O blood type or plan to be active during their time outside, like when taking part in athletic events.
How to Prevent Mosquitoes at Home and On the Go
While you can't fully prevent mosquitos from biting you, there are easy ways to keep them as far away as possible!
Remove Standing Water
Mosquito eggs require water to hatch and grow. Once the eggs hatch, it can take as little as a week for adult mosquitoes to form. The best way to limit this creepy crawly creature is limiting the standing water in your yard.
How do you do this? Put your kids' toys away, fill in low spots in your yard, and install a rain catchment with a cover.
Plant Natural Mosquito Repellents
When it comes to our kids, natural is always the best option when ensuring safety. Since the yard is a place we let them roam with slightly less supervision, it's important to prioritize their health. By planting flowers and herbs that naturally repel these pests, you beautify your lawn, limit unwanted guests, and even grow items that you can consume later! Lavender, garlic, rosemary, peppermint, and oregano are all fantastic options to try.
Use Kid and Pet-Safe Pest Control
Kids and pets tend to put everything in their mouths. This makes the idea of pesticides very scary. Thankfully, companies like Wondercide make pest control products that don't use harsh chemicals. For example, they make their Mosquito Spray with natural essential oils, in this case cedarwood and sesame oils. It kills on contact and repels those flying pests that arrive on a later date.
Best of all, a natural product like this doesn't impact our favorite pollinators and there's virtually no wait time between when you spray and when the kids can play. This is a great tool to prevent mosquitos in your yard and lessen the need to constantly apply bug repellents to their kids.
Choose Wardrobe Colors Wisely
The same study that discovered that mosquitos prefer the shade of red also found that mosquitos ignored green, blue, and purple hues. Thus, these should be your favored colors for clothing during outdoor play. Additionally, loose, lightweight, and long-sleeve clothing options are another easy way to protect against mosquitos.
Did you know you can actually buy bug repellent clothing? Insect Shield makes clothing for both adults and kids! They also make socks, hats, gaiters, and other accessories to keep these bugs at bay.
Apply Bug Spray
While not all parents are fans of putting chemicals on their kids, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approves bugs sprays that contain DEET. This is an effective tool for keeping mosquitoes away - and when you consider the fact that these pests could be carrying diseases like West Nile, Zika, and Lyme Disease, it can be the lesser of two evils.
When choosing these types of products, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends looking for a DEET concentration of 30 percent or less. Also, parents should always follow the instructions on the bottle and only apply these sprays to exposed skin. If you are looking for more natural options, Wondercide also makes plant-powered insect repellents that use essential oils.
Applying bug spray to kids and toddlers is fine, but know that babies must be at least two months old to use insect repellents.
Be Proactive to Keep Mosquitos at Bay
When the rain returns in the spring and temperatures begin to rise, mosquitos become an inevitable part of life. Remember that you don't need to call in a S.W.A.T. team to get rid of these pests! You just need to be proactive with prevention. This can save you a lot of headache and itchiness in the future.
Also, remember that these little vampires are most active at dusk, overnight, and in the early morning hours. They are also more prevalent in humid conditions. If your kids are prone to getting bit, try finding fun activities inside on damp days during these time frames.