Is it safe to use katol around babies?
With the desire to protect their babies from mosquito bites, mothers may wonder if katol is a good idea. Read on to know if it’s really good for use with babies.
As a country beset by rains for 8-10 months a year, lending itself to mosquito infestation, katol has become a common household item. With new parents wanting to protect their babies from mosquito bites, especially with the prevalence of dengue in the country, the question of katol use keeps cropping up.
What is katol?
Katol, or mosquito coil, is an insect-repelling incense that is spiral shaped. It is inexpensive and easy to use, with one coil lasting about 8 hours. It used to be available only in green, which produces a generally unpleasant smell, but technology has given rise to brands offering different colors and scents.
Is katol safe to use?
The FDA has released a list of mosquito coil brands that are safe for home use. Those that did not pass muster are considered dangerous. However, people often miss the fact that katol was designed to be used in well-ventilated areas. If this condition is not available and katol is used (say, indoors in a closed room), there is a greater risk for coil emissions to pose significant acute and chronic health risks.
The US National Institute of Health has determined that burning just one coil can equal burning of between 50-130 cigarettes in terms of fine particles, deemed carcinogenic, in its smoke. Just imagine how much toxins one could possibly inhale in the course of an 8-hour sleep, wherein users even prop the katol beside their beds.
Is katol safe to use around babies? Find out on the next page.
Is katol safe for babies?
Despite there being FDA-approved brands sold in the country, there is that fact that a baby’s respiratory system is still adjusting to this new environment and is considered fragile as it is still developing. Exposing them to chemicals and pollution should be avoided as much as possible.
What are possible side effects on babies?
If exposed to mosquito coil fumes or plug-in repellents, possible side effects include breathing problems, eye irritations and allergic reactions.
Does katol present other hazards?
Burning mosquito coils endangers young kids and pets that may accidentally ingest it. Katol also poses a very serious fire hazard as most people tend to forget it and burning embers might start a blaze.
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What are safer insect repellents?
Since insect-repelling creams, lotions or sprays are best used on babies six months or older, as they may irritate the skin, it is better to just burn oils or candles infused with citronella, neem, eucalyptus and peppermint. Some may also choose to put a few drops of essential oil from these plants on fabrics that the baby will not be in direct contact with, say, a handkerchief tucked under the baby’s bedding.
Neem leaves or lemongrass may also be burned in pots indoors. Filipinos have also been known to burn pomelo rinds (which contain limonene, a substance toxic to mosquitoes) outside their homes. Others dry the peel and then cut it up in smaller pieces to be scattered around the house, not just to chase away these pesky insects but also to deodorize. Some also extract oil from the rinds to be used for aromatic burners or insect-repelling candles.
How else to avoid mosquitoes?
- One can employ the use of a mosquito net, screens or mesh.
- Make sure surroundings are clean, trash is disposed properly and there is no stagnant water pooling in pots, planters or other areas near or inside your home.
- Dressing babies in light-colored clothes may also help since mosquitoes are attracted to dark clothing.
- Make sure babies are fully clothed (long sleeved tops and pyjamas) to minimize skin exposed.
- Stay away from hedges and bushes when outdoors. Also, avoid being outdoors in the late afternoon, as dusk is the time mosquitoes are most active.
- Feel free to also utilize strategically-placed insect-repelling plants near your door or windows.
Where babies are concerned, katol use is highly-discouraged in homes and should only be utilized for short periods of time outdoors. Despite there being FDA-approved brands, it is always wiser to err on the side of caution and champion healthy habits instead.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MEC AREVALO
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