What You Can Do to Prevent Mosquito and Tick Bites
While most bug bites are harmless, some, including mosquito and tick bites, can spread very serious viruses and bacteria. Mosquitoes can pass on diseases such as West Nile virus and malaria, while tick bites are notorious for spreading Lyme disease and rocky mountain spotted fever. Whether you’re enjoying the nice weather outside or going for a run, you’re at risk of getting sick from a bite if not properly protected.
Throughout the summer, take these precautions to protect yourself from serious bug bites:
- Use bug spray (also called insect repellant) on your skin and clothing. The most effective repellants contain DEET, picaridin, PMD or IR3535 insecticide, all of which are safe when used as directed.
- Dump out any standing water near your home. Mosquitoes can breed in just 10 to 14 days in a minute amount of water in an old flower pot, rain gutter or bird bath. If your yard has a pond, a waterfall or fountain can help keep water moving and prevent mosquito breeding. Also, bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) can help kill mosquito larvae in water without harming people, plants and pets.
- Avoid tick-infested areas, such as tall grass and clear bushes, that tend to be a popular area for ticks to hide in. Additionally, wearing pants and long sleeves can prevent both tick and mosquito bites, although be sure to check your clothing for any ticks that might be trying to hide on your clothes when you come back inside!
- Wear light-colored clothing. Not only will you feel cooler in the summer heat, but deep colors, such as black, red and dark blue, stand out and attract bugs more easily.
- Don’t leave doors and windows open. If you’re looking to let some fresh air into your house, utilize your screen doors and windows or air conditioning to keep mosquitoes outside. If you don’t have screens, mosquito nets are also useful.
- Take a shower within two hours after considerable time spent outside. This will help wash away any ticks that might be hiding on you!
- If you’re planning to travel, research destination-specific health risks and recommendations by visiting the CDC Travelers’ Health website. Mosquitoes and ticks in certain areas may carry different diseases than other areas, so know what the risk is and prepare for your trip accordingly.
- Use wood chips or gravel to separate your patio or play equipment from wooded or brushy areas.
Also, don’t forget about your pets! Check them for ticks and use veterinarian-approved tick collars and medication to keep them safe.
Have a question? Contact us at AskANurse@DirectPathHealth.com