4 Ways to Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on June 14, 2016

4 Ways to Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites

Whether you’ve got big travel plans this summer or plan to stay local, you need to proactively protect yourself from mosquito bites.

Mosquitos can transmit Zika, West Nile Virus,
chikungunya, dengue fever, yellow fever, malaria
and more.

Whether you’ve got big travel plans this summer or plan to stay local, you need to proactively protect yourself from mosquito bites. Not just because they’re itchy and annoying, but because mosquitos can infect you with serious illnesses – most notably Zika virus.

Although symptoms of Zika infection are generally mild – a fever, rash, joint pain, muscle aches, headaches and red eyes – and last about a week, the virus can have serious implications. Zika has been linked to severe birth defects in women infected during pregnancy.

Mosquitos can also transmit West Nile Virus, chikungunya, dengue fever, yellow fever, malaria and more. Here’s how to protect yourself from mosquito and other bug bites this summer.

1. Use Insect Repellent

Pick an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent that contains either DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol. Using an EPA-registered insect repellent ensure that it’s been evaluated for effectiveness.

When you apply repellent, make sure you use it as directed and if it’s a spray repellent, apply it outdoors and away from food.

2. Dress to Prevent Bites

Light, bright-colored clothing has shown to be less attractive to mosquitoes than dark clothing. Weather permitting, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to cover your skin.

You can also treat your clothing and outdoor gear with permethrin, an insecticide and insect repellent. It’s designed to be used for additional protection on clothing and outdoor gear, not on skin.

3. Reduce Mosquitoes Around Your Home

Mosquitoes need standing water to breed – if it’s in your yard, you may be supporting mosquitoes and their offspring. Keep your house and yard free of mosquito breeding grounds by emptying kiddie pools at least once a week, changing water in birdbaths weekly, unclogging roof gutters, getting rid of any old tires on your property, draining fire pits if they collect water, and emptying outdoor flower pots regularly if they collect water.

Prevent mosquitoes from getting into your home by using air conditioning and making sure there aren’t any tears in window or door screens.

4. Try Your Best to Avoid Them

You can take measures to limit your exposure to mosquitoes. First, avoid being outside when they’re most active at dusk to dawn. In addition to repairing window and door screens on your home, do the same to any tears in camping gear. You can also use mosquito netting over strollers and cribs.

You should sleep under a mosquito bed net if you’re abroad or outside.

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it’s recommended that you avoid traveling to areas affected by Zika. Since there have been 10 cases of sexually-transmitted Zika infection in the U.S., men who have lived in or traveled to a Zika-affected area and who have a pregnant partner should either abstain from sex or properly use condoms.

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