3 important steps to avoid mosquito bites and infections!
Summer is a time to enjoy and become more active in the outdoors. It's also when those pesky mosquitoes multiply in numbers. In warmer places like Florida, they can live year-round and increase your chances of getting those annoying bug bites which can last several days and cause itchiness and inflamation of the skin.
Recently, mosquitoes have been making the news for spreading a new disease, the Zika virus. This infection has led to 19 travel-related cases and over 100 local cases in Florida’s southern region. The virus causes a fever, rashes, body pain, and redness. Pregnant women and children are at increased risk of disease. Unborn children inflicted with the virus may also have birth defects. Read the special guidelines to protect pregnant women and children on the Center for Disease Prevention and Control’s (CDC) website.
The CDC is also a great resource for ways to protect yourself from mosquito bites and the effects of the Zika virus. If you want to enjoy your summer and decrease the risks of getting Zika, then follow these three simple tips offered by the CDC.
1. Bug spray and repellent
One simple way to avoid mosquitoes is to wear bug spray or repellent during your time outside. Choose an EPA-registered insect spray or lotion with at least 20% DEET. The higher percentage of a bug spray, the longer it can protect against unwanted bug bites and infections. The CDC suggests that some natural alternatives include lemon eucalyptus or par-methane-diol (PMD) repellents. The more you reapply throughout the day, the better protection you may enjoy. If you’re also wearing sunscreen, apply the lotion first and then wait at least 15 minutes for it to soak into the skin. Then spray your bug repellent on top of it. Avoid products containing both sunscreen and bug spray because they’re not as effective.
2. Cover bare skin
It’s advised that you cover up your bare skin when you go outside to avoid more mosquito bites. Consider wearing tightly-woven clothing and long-sleeved shirts and pants. Socks and hats are also crucial to keeping away bugs as well. For improved protection, tuck your pants into your socks and your shirt into your pants. You should also avoid wearing black clothing because bugs are attracted to the color. Instead, opt for a light-colored shirt.
3. Bug proof your home
Remember, you can also get bit indoors if your home isn’t bug proof. You can help protect your home from these annoying intruders by keeping it air conditioned and making sure window and door screens are repaired and in good shape. Any holes can allow mosquitoes and other bugs to enter easily. It may also be beneficial to buy area repellents like candles and mosquito coils. Check any items like trash cans, toys, and planters that hold water in or around your home each week. Water attracts mosquitos and they tend to lay their eggs close by.
Everyone gets bug bites throughout the year, but with these tips you could decrease the chances of getting several at a time and help prevent the infections like the Zika virus. We hope these handy reminders help you think before you go outside unprotected. We hope you enjoy a happy and safe end of the summer!
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