School Nurse Addresses Mosquito Concerns

Meridian, Mississippi Mississippi has had 15 reported cases of the West Nile Virus in 2013 and one death.

With schools back in session, many parents worry about the best way to protect their kids from mosquitoes. School nurse Ann Compton says it's not as much of an issue as you might think.

"I do not see a lot of kids come in with mosquito bites from the playground," Compton says. "They might have gotten them the night before playing outside, but I don't see them a lot during the day that come in with mosquito bites."

That's mainly because the peak times for mosquitoes are in the morning and evening, not during school hours. The schools do not spray students with repellent before they go outside because it could trigger asthmatic or allergic reactions. However, they do take other precautions.

"Any standing water that is around the playground, we try to remove," Compton points out. "And our maintenance group in the school system, they're really good about keeping the grass cut where the kids play."

These are the same types of precautions you should take at home. Of course, you need a good repellent. What you really want to look at though is the DEET percentage. Anywhere from 10 to 30 percent is good for adults, but the State Department of Health advises that if you're shopping for your children, you want 10 percent or less.

The school will usually spray your child if he or she is severely allergic to mosquitoes and has a doctor's orders. If a student has already fallen victim to the blood-suckers, the school nurse can take a bite out of the pain.

"In the Meridian Public School System, we have standing orders from a local doctor where if they do come in with mosquito bites, we do have some anti-itch cream that we can apply that will make them more comfortable," Compton explains.

So far this year, 296 cases of the West Nile Virus have been reported in the U.S. across 43 states. 11 deaths are attributed to the virus. Of those, 49 percent are neuroinvasive cases, such as meningitis and 51 percent are non-neuroinvasive cases.