Mosquitoes are the tiny pests that ruin anyone’s outdoor fun in a big way. They’re a nuisance, they love to bite and they leave itchy welts on every body part. Most alarming, however, is that many species of mosquitoes are riddled with disease – causing more than just an itchy patch in some of their victims. Mosquitoes spread Zika, West Nile, malaria, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. The severity of these diseases is different in everyone: Some people experience mild, short-term illness, while others experience severe illness that can be deadly. But you don’t have to fear! By taking a few simple precautions, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy Mother Nature without the threat of West Nile or Zika virus looming in the back of their minds. Community leaders can help spread the word on how to avoid being bitten by enforcing the following mosquito bite prevention tips:
Tip #1: Dress Appropriately
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Always apply repellent cream on your exposed skin, and treat your clothing with permethrin spray for added protection.
Tip #2: Use Repellent
Only use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD) or 2-undecanone. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Do not use OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.
Tip #3: Avoid Peak Hours
Although mosquitoes that spread disease bite during the day and night, staying inside during peak hours (e.g., dawn and dusk) may help reduce the risk of being bitten.
Tip #4: Eliminate Standing Water
Keep mosquitoes from laying eggs in standing water on your property. Tip and toss containers that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots or trash containers.
Tip #5: Cover Babies
Protect young children by covering cribs, strollers and carriers with mosquito netting. Also dress your child in clothing that covers his or her arms and legs.
Do not use insect repellent on babies under 2 months old.
Tip #6: Protect Your Home
Don’t let mosquitoes into your home. Keep them outside by using screens on windows and doors. Use air-conditioning, if possible.
Spread the Word on Mosquito Bite Prevention
Communities don’t have to let mosquitoes ruin their fun in the great outdoors. Whether lounging on the patio, hiking through the woods or boating on the lake, citizens should always be reminded to take the right steps to stay bite-free. For more information on bite prevention products available to purchase for your community, browse the QuickSeries® library of guides, including Emerging Infectious Diseases.