Avoiding Mosquitoes 101


Did you know that the animal responsible for more human deaths than any other is actually an insect and it’s the mosquito? Mosquitoes transmit diseases by biting someone with a virus and then injecting that virus into the blood of the next human it bites. And so on…. It’s a very efficient way to spread the viruses that cause such diseases as encephalitis, West Nile, yellow fever, malaria, dengue fever and chikungunya.

Different mosquitoes transmit different diseases. The mosquito that spreads malaria only bites from sunset to sunrise but the mosquito that transmits dengue fever bites during the day.

Some of these diseases only occur in tropical areas but some, such as dengue fever, as now seen in Southern Florida. West Nile and other forms of encephalitis affect many different areas of the US.

Treatment for most of these diseases is supportative. Therefore it’s best to prevent them.

How to avoid mosquito bites:

1. Cover up. If it’s hot wear light weight clothing- long sleeved shirts, pants and shoes instead of sandals.

2. Treat your clothing with permetherin , which is insecticidal. You can buy pre treated clothes (expensive) or do it yourself by spraying or soaking clothes and air drying ahead of travel. Treated clothing will stay active for 6 weeks and several launderings. If using mosquito nets, treat them, too.

3. Use 30% DEET on exposed skin and reapply as needed based on locale, swimming and perspiring. Don’t forget your scalp, ears and feet. Mosquitoes are very good at finding any exposed area they can! Avoid contact with your eyes, mouth and any open areas. DEET products come as sprays and wipes.

4. Don’t use products that attract mosquitoes such as perfumes, scented products, including hair spray.

So, be aware of where mosquitoes reside and protect yourself.

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