Are you the kind of person who gets 62 mosquito bites when the person next to you gets none? Well, whether it’s one or 101, there are several things you can do to prevent the little blood suckers from getting under your skin.
You want to keep mosquitoes away because they can carry disease, including West Nile Virus. The West Nile Virus can be a potentially serious disease with symptoms ranging from a headache that goes away on its own, to convulsions, paralysis, vision loss, and even death in extreme cases.
There is a lot of advice you’ve probably heard before: use bug repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, or just stay inside. But one of the best things you can do is get rid of mosquitoes before they are even born.
Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Look around your home for any potential mosquito nurseries. If you dump out the standing water in bird baths, old tires, or at the bottom of your child’s slide, you kill the eggs and larvae of these insects and eliminate their breeding ground.
You can’t stop all of them, of course, so what can you do with the little buggers that are still around? The answers range from chemicals to a good breeze.
- DEET Repellent – There’s been a lot of buzz about DEET. This chemical has been tested and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is safe as long as it’s used properly and according to directions. If you need protection for a long amount of time, use products with a higher percentage of DEET.
- SumiOne Repellent - SumiOne or metofluthrin, is a relatively new chemical used to repel mosquitoes. It is not applied to the skin or clothing, but instead is placed on paper emanators that are used to protect a person or area. It has been shown to be up to 97% effective in repelling mosquitoes. Commercial clip on devices use this chemical.
- Clothing – Don’t stop at protecting your skin. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that you wear clothing with long pants and long sleeves while outdoors.
- Box Fan – Fun Fact: Mosquitoes are terrible flyers. Something as simple as a gentle breeze can keep them away. So, get a box fan and set it up outdoors on a hot summer night. You get the cool breeze and the mosquitoes can’t get to you!
- Mosquito netting – Use mosquito netting over infant carriers. You can also use netting to create a “mosquito tent” on your back deck.
- Avoid Peak Hours – Mosquitoes are most active from dusk to dawn.
So you repelled mosquitoes the best you can, and still were bitten. What now? Treatments such as oral antihistamines and topical lotions can ease the itch from mosquito bites. But if a mosquito bite seems to be associated with more serious symptoms – fever, severe headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting – contact your doctor.
For a few people, little can stop or help the inevitable mosquito bite. Those folks might just have to wait it out … and try not to scratch.