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Robust Mosquito Season Predicted For North Texas

by Aparna Zalani | CBS 11

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - No matter where you are, it's difficult to escape a mosquito bite in the summer.

Emergency rooms are already seeing an uptick in the bites.

Doctors say sometimes these bites can get infected - especially among children.

Dr. Dawn Johnson, pediatrician at Children's Health Medical Center predicts a robust mosquito season in North Texas.

She says insects can carry more than just their bite or sting. West Nile, Zika and Lyme are some of the diseases transmitted by mosquitos and ticks.

It's not just the mosquitos we need to worry about, mites often called "chiggers" are also abundant this time around.

"When our children are outside and playing in the grass, we anticipate there will be insect bites and stings," she said.

She says prevention is the best way out. stay indoors-- especially during dusk and dawn-- when the mosquitos are out. use mosquito spray with 30% or less DEET.

"those are safe for children two months and older, they should be applied every two hours to every five hours depending on the strength of the DEET."

The American academy of pediatrics says 10% DEET provides protection for 2 hours and 30% provides protection for 5 hours.

Insect repellents should be applied only on exposed skin – not under clothing – and to the outside of your child's clothing. Read product instructions and use just enough repellent to cover your child's clothing and exposed skin. Using more doesn't make the repellent more effective.

Apply the repellent on young children and help older children apply – to make sure the product is used properly. If you use a spray, do so in an open area to avoid breathing in the repellent.

If using on your child's face, spray the product on your hands, then apply, being careful to avoid the eyes and mouth. Avoid using repellents on scrapes, wounds or other broken skin. Don't use sprays around food.

Clothing is important. If you are in the woods where there may be ticks, for example, wear long sleeves and pants – a long-sleeved shirt with a snug collar and cuffs is best. Tuck the shirt in at the waist and tuck socks over your pants, hiking shoes or boots.

For protection from chiggers, Dr. Johnson says snug clothing can prevent ticks and mites from climbing.

These mites try to find moist spots on the body typically, under the socks or the lining of the underwear.

"We don't recommend putting DEET on covered parts of the body, chiggers love to bite, places that are moist, and so they love to get around the edge of socks, where you may not have applied DEET, they love the groin."

Once you're back inside, wash the product off your child's skin with soap and water to remove any repellent, and wash their clothing before they wear it again. Do tick checks at the end of the day by examining your child's hair and skin.

For younger infants, use mosquito netting over strollers and baby carriers when the family is outside. You can dress infants in cool, comfortable clothing – such as lightweight cotton – to protect their skin.

Other "natural" insect repellants repel insects only for a short time and don't require registration with the Environmental Protection Agency. They might include citronella oil, cedar oil, geranium oil, peppermint, peppermint oil and soybean oil.

Pediatricians don't recommend products containing both DEET and sunscreen that's because sunscreen needs to be reapplied every couple of hours especially when the child is getting wet.

If you get bitten by an insect- wash the bite with warm soap and water and apply an anti-itch cream...and if you are using natural bug spray-- know that it may be only effective for a short time... check the label carefully before using natural sprays.

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