Mosquitos have always been an annoyance, but until recently in this part of the world, that’s all they were.
Mosquitos can carry the West Nile Virus, among other diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), West Nile Virus causes mild flu-like symptoms in 1 out of every 5 people bitten and infected. One person in 100 may develop more severe illnesses, such as West Nile meningitis or encephalitis. Still, almost 80% of those infected with West Nile Virus never develop symptoms.
While those are good odds, it’s best to avoid infection in the first place. What can you do to keep mosquitos away and help your family keep from being bitten?
Follow the 4 D’s: Drain, Dress, Dusk, DEET
Mosquitoes not only breed in standing water, they can do so in something as small as a bottle cap. Kill mosquitos before they have a chance to breed or hatch by eliminating standing water around your house. Did your toddler leave his toy truck out in the rain? Did you leave a bucket out by the flower bed? Look through your yard for popular mosquito hangouts and dump the water.
If it’s not too hot out, wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors. Use insect repellent on exposed skin. Mosquitos can bite through thin clothing, so spray insect repellent on your clothes for extra protection. Never use repellent underneath your clothes.
Mosquitos are most active between dusk and dawn, so schedule outdoor activities to avoid those peak times. If you do go outside, placing a large fan nearby might help since mosquitos are pretty weak fliers. And don’t forget your insect repellent!
What repellents are safe? The CDC recommends products containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products. Make sure to follow package directions and wash all repellents off with warm soapy water once you return indoors. For info on insect repellent use and safety visit http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/faq/repellent.html.
Take the bite out of summer!
Let the 4 D’s help keep you and your family safe from mosquitos and mosquito-borne disease.