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Zika in Singapore: Protecting Your New and Unborn Child Against Zika

Zika in Singapore: Protecting Your New and Unborn Child Against Zika

Protecting Your Newborn and Unborn Child Against Zika Outbreak

Mosquito bites and life in Singers come hand in hand, and there’s nothing worse than seeing your baby suffer from the wrath of our blood-sucking foes. However, a mama and dada’s fear of the mossies has just been made all the worse by today’s news that Singapore’s first case of Zika has been reported. According to the Strait’s Times, the NEA have intensified vector control operations to control the Aedes mosquito population in the areas near to where the patient lives, Watten Estate. Clearly, the authorities believe that there is a real threat of a future zika outbreak.

But what exactly does this mean for pregnant women and new mothers? And what can you do to protect yourself and bub from being feasted on by a glut of virus-ridden ectoparasites?

Here’s our guide to what threats zika poses to pregnant women and how you can protect yourself and your newborn baby from zika in a safe and non-toxic manner.

 Zika and Pregnancy

The bad news is that zika can be passed from pregnant mamas who are bitten by infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to their unborn child or to a newborn at birth. In the worst-case scenario, this can lead to the death, premature birth of your baby or serious birth defects if the mother is bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus while she’s pregnant:  Zika Virus linked to birth defect. The good news is that it is safe for pregnant women to use mossie repellents that contain up to 50 percent DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or lemon eucalyptus essential oil. Products that you can buy in Singers that are safe for pregnant women include Cutter (available from EveryMarket) and Off! (available from Guardian). Remember to read the label carefully or speak to your pharmacist before using an insect repellent on your pregnant self. In addition to slapping on some protection, dress in long-sleeved tops and trousers to give the blighters less of a target.

Read more: Are insect repellents safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women?

Mosquito Bites and Babies: Protecting Your Children From Bites

Of course, the most effective way to avoid mosquito bites is through the use of chemicals, such as DEET. However, not many parents (understandably) are too keen on the idea of smothering their baby in potentially cancer-causing chemicals and actively search for alternative methods of preventing and treating mosquito bites. Here are some great methods by which you can reduce bub’s chances of being feasted on.

1) Wrap ’em up

Dress your baby in light colours and long sleeves that cover the legs and arms. This is especially important if you are going out in the early evening to a place where it’s highly likely a mass of mossies will be lying in wait for tender young skin. If an evening stroll around MacRitchie is on the cards, for example, get baby wrapped up and protected so that it’s just the monkeys that are coming to say hello.

2) Grow some herbs 

As well as smelling great and making your neighbours think you are a true domestic god(dess), some herbs, such as rosemary, lemongrass and thyme, are known to repel many insects. Marigolds have a similar effect. Plant them near to doors and windows to encourage the bugs to fly off in another direction.

3) Blow them away 

Blast those pesky mossies out of there by placing a fan near bub’s crib. The moving air can prevent mosquitos from flying near to, or landing on precious baba while also keeping him or her cool. Just make sure that the fan is out of harm’s reach of tiny wandering hands.

4) Use a tried and tested method 

If you are not confident that you can prevent mosquitos from entering your apartment or home altogether, place a mosquito net over your baby’s cot or crib. Do be careful if you go down this route though, check the net carefully for potential hazards and remove it immediately if your child could get tangled in it or pull it down on himself.

5) Turn to mother nature

If you are Singapore’s answer to Anita Roddick, why not go the natural route and make your own homemade natural mosquito repellent? You’ll find a ton of recipes online. I like this one (DIY bug spray) because it reminds me of vacations in Bali and child-free spa sessions… those were the days! 

6) Go Au Naturel

If you simply can’t bring yourself to ditch the insect repellent altogether, seek out a non-toxic solution that may ward off zika-infested blood suckers. Safe Mama has produced a great list of suggestions: bug repellent cheat sheet. However, experts do suggest that you avoid using any type of repellent on children under 2 months of age. Check out the FDA guidelines for further information.

Mosquito Bites and Babies: Symptoms of Zika

The symptoms associated with zika are as follows:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pain or muscle pain.
  • Headache.

The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.

Obviously, your bub won’t be able to share symptoms with you, but if baby’s health suddenly takes a turn for the worse, watch out for the following:

• Fever (38 degrees Celsius or 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or more) OR, low temperature (less than 36 degrees Celsius or 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit)
• Being irritable, fussy, overly agitated, sleepy, or refusing to eat
• Rash

Visit your doctor immediately if you have ANY concerns. 

Mosquito Bites and Babies: What to do if Your Child is Bitten

If your bub is bitten by mossies, it is going to be around four to ten days before any zika symptoms manifest themselves. In the meantime, you can use some great techniques to relieve the uncomfortable itching of a mossie bite.

1) Breast is best

If bub has some sort of ailment, you can bet your last dollar that breast milk is the solution; mossie bites are no exception. It’s a little-known fact that breastmilk can help to relieve itching and assist bites to heal fast. If you are breastfeeding, dab a bit onto the sensitive area and let nature work its wonders.

2) Get sour about it

If you are not breastfeeding, it isn’t convenient to express milk, and you’re not keen on approaching a nursing mama in the mall to ask for a breast milk donation, try applying a small amount of vinegar to the bite. Vinegar is a great natural cure for bites and stings and will quickly relieve the itching.

3) Hello Aloe

Aloe is one of the best-known home remedies for those pesky mosquito bites, and it very effectively eases itching and kick starts the healing process. Aloe gel products are widely available in pharmacies throughout Singapore; alternatively, if you have green fingers you can grow your own aloe vera plant (stick it next to the herbs).

4) Disperse the venom

One very effective method of easing itching without the need for any lotions or solutions is to gently run your fingernail around the bite. This helps to disperse the venom that causes the discomfort and encourages the bite to heal much quicker. Be careful though, baba is fragile after all.

Got any miracle mossie bite cures? Do share mama!

Yes, there is a potential zika outbreak in town and, yes mama and dada, you do need to take some basic precautions to protect yourself, your unborn bub and your baby. But try not to panic.


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 The information contained in this website is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.

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