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Protect your children from a new mosquito-borne virus in Florida

Parents should place insect repellent on children's clothing and bare skin.
Parents should place insect repellent on children's clothing and bare skin.
Photo by Mario Villafuerte/Getty Images

It's time to bring out the bug repellent and cover up your kids -- there is a new mosquito-borne virus to add to the others.

This year a small mosquito called aedes aegypti causes a virus known as chikungunya, according to The Sun Sentinel. It's a funny name for a disorder that causes fever, severe joint and muscle pain, rash, nausea and vomiting. There is no known medication or vaccine for this virus, so it needs to run it's course. The Department of Health in Broward County is recommending to "drain and cover" meaning to make sure there are no sources of stagnant water around in your yard and even patios and decks. Along with checking for water sources, please make sure to cover bare areas of skin when outdoors.

This new mosquito is also a day stalker. It bites during daylight hours versus most mosquitoes that are out for prey from dusk till dawn. It is also known that this new mosquito can venture indoors and breed in small areas of water, like a wet area around drains, water in flower pots, and even the refrigerator's ice maker. Make sure to change the water in your pet's bowls daily as an extra precaution.

Officials say cover your kids! It's best to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, socks and shoes. I know the temperature is super hot this month, so if covering all body parts is not feasible, then place insect repellent on bare body parts.

There are certain guidelines for bug repellents used with children. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that products with DEET can be used on children but the product should have no more than 30-percent of DEET in its ingredients. Other helpful substances such as picaridin and essential oils including citronella, eucalyptus, and oil of lemon may be helpful. Make sure to only apply this repellent on clothing and bare skin only, avoiding the face. Never apply repellent on cuts or wounds. Watch for any rashes on children with sensitive skin.

Parents.com offers a variety of products to use on children to avoid both mosquitoes and other pesky bugs that bite. Or, check with your pediatrician for products he/she recommends.

Most importantly, if your child has multiple mosquito bites and starts to run a fever after outdoor play check with your doctor. And, keep an eye on bites that may look like they are getting infected.

Have fun this summer, but be assertive on how to avoid mosquito bites and how to prevent these pesky critters from breeding!