Philadelphia, PA - While Zika cases identified in the U.S. are still primarily related to travel outside the country, the threat has reinforced the importance of preventing mosquito bites. Mosquitoes spread many types of viruses and parasites that can cause diseases.
“From concerts and movie nights to backyard get-togethers summer time activities naturally bring us outside when after dusk when mosquitoes are most active,” says Valerie Pendley, MD, family practice.
“If you do go outside during evening hours, cover up with light-weight long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing – treating clothes with permethrin or another EPA-registered insecticide can provide extra protection.”
Use an insect repellent with one of the following active ingredients – DEET; Picaridin, also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel and icaridin; oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD); or IR3535. Products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) should not be used on children under three years of age.
Helping children avoid bites
Insect repellent should not be used on babies younger than two months. Instead, dress infants or small children in clothing that covers arms and legs, or cover the crib or baby carrier with mosquito netting.
Follow guidance on the package before applying insect repellent on children – spray it onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face. Do not apply insect repellent to a child’s hands, mouth, cut or irritated skin.
Once You’ve Been Bitten
Even the best preventative measures probably won't protect you from all bites. In the case of a normal reaction, a hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion will provide relief from itching. A cold pack, ice cubes or a cool bath without soap may help relieve symptoms as well.
For more serious allergic reactions, oral antihistamines such as Benadryl or Claritin, topical anti-itch lotion or benzocaine, a cool bath without soap or an epinephrine autoinjector (EpiPen) in case of anaphylaxis may be used to treat your reaction.
“While there is lots of hype about West Nile virus (WNV), remember that it is not common,” says Dr. Pendley. So far this year, the Pennsylvania DEP reports 0 cases in Philadelphia and 4 cases in Montgomery County. Most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as severe headache, body aches, nausea or vomiting, rash or confusion. Contact your care provider if you are concerned.
Dr. Pendley cares for patients at Chestnut Hill Family Practice. She is accepting new patients. Same--day appointments are often available. Call (215) 248-8145 to schedule an appointment. For information on all Chestnut Hill Hospital physicians, click on Find a Physician.
Chestnut Hill Hospital (CHH) is a community-based, university-affiliated, teaching hospital committed to excellent patient-centered care. CHH provides a full range of inpatient and outpatient, diagnostic and treatment services for our neighbors in northwest Philadelphia and eastern Montgomery County. More than 300 board-certified physicians comprise the medical staff and support medical specialties including minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgery, cardiology, gynecology, oncology, orthopedics, urology, family practice and internal medicine. Our comprehensive services include primary care practices, two women’s centers and an off-site physical therapy center. CHH is affiliated with university-hospitals in Philadelphia for heart and stroke care, as well as our hospitalist and residency programs. Chestnut Hill has 130-beds and is accredited by the Joint Commission.
8835 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19118