In summer our skin and our health in general are exposed to diseases typical of this time of year. The climate changes and our habits and routines change, but the atmosphere is also transformed and elements very dangerous to our health begin to invade us. Have you heard of the tiger mosquito? Do you know how to protect children against the tiger mosquito? What diseases does it transmit? Can their sting be prevented?
The tiger mosquito is a mosquito (nematocero dipteran of the Culícidae family), whose scientific name is Aedes albopictus, native to the tropical jungles of Southeast Asia, which grows and reproduces in stagnant water sites. We can identify by their black coloration and marked white bands on legs and abdomen and a single elongated stripe in the center of the thorax, with 6 legs and 2 wings and approximately 5 to 10 mm in size.
They are mosquitoes of nocturnal activity. The bite is usually from the knees down, because they fly close to the ground, but if you are lying down they can sting all over your body without respecting any area and even penetrate the clothing you are wearing (even if it is thick) and can cause significant reactions, even with a lot of pain at the sting site.
The females are the ones that sting, having a very thin and elongated trunk, with which it penetrates the skin and sucks the blood of vertebrates, especially birds and mammals. And the males in this species are harmless.
In the summer times they can be seen in shady areas of gardens and swimming pools, so the moments of rest are difficult to enjoy, since they take the opportunity to snack. And between the months of May and November (summer) is where they are most active and in winter times you can get hibernating eggs, waiting to hatch at the right time.
May be a potential transmitter of more than 22 infectious diseasesincluding chikungunya (fever, chills, conjunctivitis, or joint pain for several days), dengue (fever, severe headache, nausea, or vomiting), and Zika (fever and artistris). And since 2004 it has been detected very frequently in certain regions of Spain, such as Catalonia and Valencia, becoming a common summer pest and because it is so adaptable it has spread to other continents.
Symptoms of a bite tiger mosquito It can be variable according to the type of insect and the person affected. The reaction will also depend on the immune system of each person. In general, when we see patients with tiger mosquito bites, we notice at the level of the skin as a lump, that is, a raised area, which is produced by reaction to the venom of the bite, which causes pain, a lot of itching (itching ) and stinging. There may also be tingling, burning, and numbness in the area.
There are people who are very allergic to mosquito bites, so in addition to the above symptoms, we can observe a generalized rash and hives. And cases of severe allergic reaction have been seen, where the patient presents bronchospasm and anaphylactic reaction, which if not treated in time, can cause the death of the patient by suffocation.
The reaction to the venom of the sting can vary from 4 to 5 days, also depending on the recipient, as I explained above, but the more intensely the area is scratched, the more inflammatory reaction and itching will be greater, which will aggravate the symptoms and will take longer to improve.
Other symptoms such as fever, headache, general malaise will depend on the type of disease transmitted by the tiger mosquito.
In my experience as a pediatrician, when seeing this type of bite, the ideal is to indicate medications that relieve inflammation, pain and allergic reaction to saliva or mosquito poison, for which I indicate:
- Oral antihistamines and if the reaction is anaphylactic type, the patient is hospitalized and treated parenterally.
- Topical corticosteroids, type creams in the area of the bite to reduce pain and itching or itching, when it is very intense.
- Oral analgesics in case of a lot of pain, but they are rarely indicated.
There are home remedies that people often use as an alternative, such as putting a little aloe vera (a plant that produces pain relief in the area of the bite), placing ice water compresses, cold gel or ice pack on the bite to calm pain and reduce inflammation, but only for 24 hours, or also several times a day rub alcohol compresses over the area in order to avoid possible skin infections due to continuous scratching.
But as a pediatrician, my duty is to teach prevent mosquito bites and possible complications, so I leave you some recommendations to take into account. The first thing is to prevent the mosquito from reproducing in our house or surroundings and this can be avoided in the following way:
- Cover all the water tanks, even if they are water for consumption.
- Cover or turn over any container that can accumulate water: buckets, buckets, toys, rubbers, etc.
- Avoid vases with water inside the house or change the water every 3 days.
- Empty plates from pots or any external container where water accumulates, even from rain.
- Place mosquito net protectors in all types of containers that accumulate rainwater that cannot be turned over.
- Cover the pools while they are not in use.
- Empty inflatable pools every 3 to 4 days or if they are not used, collect and store.
- Eliminate any obstacle that accumulates water in channels or drainage sites.
- Cover the skin with repellants in cream, lotion or gel based on citronella or mix moisturizing cream with 1 ampoule of vitamin B12, since the strong smell repels the mosquito.
- Use of light colored clothing that covers the skin as much as possible, avoiding dark, bright and patterned colors.
- Wear long pants, long-sleeved blouses or shirts, thick socks, especially in wooded areas or rainy weather.
- Avoid walking outside the house with bare feet.
- Do not use scented lotions or soaps, which attract insects.
- Avoid places where there are stagnant water, weeds, flower gardens, garbage cans or that are not covered.
- Also put repellent on clothing.
- Keep pets free of fleas or ticks, which can contaminate the mosquitoes that bite them.
- Avoid frequenting places at night where mosquitoes or insects in general can concentrate.
- Cover doors and windows with a mosquito net protector to prevent mosquitoes from entering the house.
Infectious diseases caused by mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, sandflies, black flies, or mites worldwide represent 15 to 20%, reaching almost 700,000 deaths per year according to the registry from diseases such as malaria, dengue, Chagas disease, yellow fever ( malaria), leishmaniasis and others. Its distribution in the world will depend on factors:
Poor disposal of garbage and excreta, spillage of white or black water and water tank not covered (eg, vases).
Due to the change of temperatures with the seasons, climate change, the rise of neighborhoods in inappropriate places and others.
That depend on age, sex, birth rate, death rate etc.
All these changes cause diseases that did not exist in certain regions to appear and continue, affecting a large population and leading to important complications, as is the case that we have talked about in this article, tiger mosquito bite.
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