Mosquito Season Bites

By: Nick LaFave
By: Nick LaFave

Record setting rains are bringing new life to forests and fields. But, they also help breed huge amounts of mosquitoes.

Constant bites, however, won't keep people from enjoying the outdoors. The general recommendation is a healthy dose of bug spray with the product DEET.

In rare circumstances DEET (if absorbed by the body in very large amounts) can cause seizures. It's especially dangerous for young children.

Doctors recommend kids under ten only use bug spray products with a DEET level of less than ten percent. Children under two are recommended to stay away from the product completely.

When bites do occur, Benadryl is a good quick fix to relieve itching, swelling, and irritation. Hydrocortisone creams are also good, but should never be applied to the face.

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Mosquito Bite Prevention

  • Eliminate pools of stagnant water. This includes emptying water from outdoor containers, old tires, tarps and unused swimming pools; cleaning gutters and clearing debris from roadside ditches; putting drain holes in trash barrels and turning outdoor buckets upside down to prevent water from accumulating. Water in pet bowls and livestock tanks should be refreshed at least once every three days.

  • Use natural predators to limit mosquito populations. Minnows or goldfish can be placed in backyard ponds to prey on mosquitoes. Dragonfly larvae and aquatic beetles are predators of mosquito larvae.

  • Install yellow light bulbs in outdoor lamps. These bulbs will not attract mosquitoes when turned on, unlike white bulbs, which can.

  • Repair and maintain window screens, and keep them closed. Well-maintained window screens serve as effective barriers against mosquitoes and other insects trying to enter your home.

  • Avoid outdoor activity between sunset and dawn. This is when mosquitoes most likely to carry disease are active.

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Spray clothing with repellents because mosquitoes may bite through thing clothing.

  • Apply insect repellent sparingly to exposed skin. An effective repellent will contain 35 percent DEET. Wear according to label directions.

  • Do not wear scented antiperspirants, perfumes and colognes if spending time outdoors. The smell of these products attracts mosquitoes and other insects to the people wearing them.

  • Routinely mow lawns and cut brush. Shady areas and tall grass are habitats for mosquitoes.

Source: Centers for Disease Control


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