While many families leave town this summer, some unwelcome guests will be taking up residence in Shanghai – mosquitoes. These pesky bugs love Shanghai’s heat and humidity and can make being outdoors miserable.
We asked Dr. Lincoln Sakiara Miyasaka, a family medicine doctor at Shanghai United Family Hospital for advice on how to avoid becoming a mosquito magnet this summer.
1. What are the best ways to prevent mosquito bites in children?
Wearing protective clothing such as long sleeve shirts and pants, closing windows and using air conditioning in hot environments and using a permethrin-treated mosquito net over a bed at night will greatly reduce mosquito bites.
Repellents that utilize 25-35 percent DEET as their active ingredient will also help. They should be applied every four-six hours, especially before going to sleep.
2. Which mosquito repellents are safest for children?
DEET is safe for kids above 2 month of age and pregnant women, but care should be taken not to get it into the eyes or mouth.
3. Are any recommended brands sold here in Shanghai or should they be purchased abroad?
We recommend Deep Woods 25 percent mosquito repellents, available in Shanghai.
4. Do you recommend the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine? When should it be given and what are the pros and cons of the vaccine?
The risk in Shanghai for the mosquito-born Japanese Encephalitis is very small. If you are visiting areas outside major cities in Southeast Asia and South Asia for an extended period of time, particularly in rural areas where there are rice paddies and or pigs, this vaccine is recommended.
It can be given after 8 month of age. If given at 8 month, a second dose is given at 2 years of age. Side effects that can happen are pain, redness, swelling in the injection site and mild fever. It is contraindicated if you have fever, tuberculosis, epilepsy, allergy to the vaccine, are immune-compromised or pregnant.
5. If your child gets a bite, what is the best treatment for the itching and swelling that follows a bite?
Wash with soap and water and use ice or cold pack for cooling to reduce swelling. Topical hydrocortisone creams, gels and lotions can decrease pruritus (itchiness). If the symptoms are generalized, oral antihistamine like cetirizine or loratadine can be used. Severe case may need oral steroids.