If you’re wondering how to prevent mosquito bites, you are not alone. Millions of people are increasingly worried about the spread of disease from mosquito bites, and lately we’ve been hearing some alarming news about the Zika virus Read on to learn some tips on how to prevent mosquito bites, and check out our reviews of natural essential oil bug sprays.
Once upon a time people used to encounter mosquitoes while traveling only to tropical countries. Well, a lot has changed in our environment and now we have mosquitoes well established in many parts of the country. Mosquitoes are a real nuisance and besides their painful bite, they are also known to transmit a variety of infections. The latest news is that mosquitoes are responsible for spreading the Zika, virus, chikungunya virus and dengue (for more info visit the CDC.). While most of these viral infections are mild, sometimes they can produce chronic arthritis (chikungunya) or abnormal growth in head of babies (Zika virus).
So how does one protect against mosquitoes? Here are some basic tips that may help you.
How to prevent mosquito bites
1. Be careful where you go
The best way to avoid mosquito bites is by avoiding contact with them- but today mosquitoes have become well established in North America. They are found even in the cooler parts of the country and have adapted well. If you really hate mosquitoes, then avoid travel to tropical countries. Unfortunately except for Antarctica, mosquitoes are now found almost every where on this planet. However, the bigger and more nastier mosquitoes tend to exist in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Travelers should learn about any specific travel warnings and health risks made by the CDC. At present there is a warning that informs pregnant women not to travel to central and south America because of the Zika virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes.
2. Avoid going out at dusk
The one thing to know about mosquitoes is that they are most active from dusk to dawn; so if you do not want to get bitten, avoid going out at this time of the night.
3. Drain any standing water
Mosquitoes tend to thrive near pools of standing water. So to prevent breeding of mosquitoes near your residence do the following: 1) drain away all puddles of water and 2) clean up the yard. Anything that is capable of storing rain water is a breeding place for mosquitoes- so eliminate what all the junk from your backyard.
4. Wear bug repellent
There are many types of mosquito repellents on the market but they should be used with caution as they do contain potent chemicals. Some of the most well known repellents on the market include DEET (sold as OFF, Skintastic or Cutter), Oil of lemon eucalyptus, Picaridin and para-menthane-diol products. Deet is available in various concentrations and the lower strength solutions offer short term protection and need frequent applications. Deet can also cause irritation and itching in some individuals. Many types of natural solutions made from vitamins, tea tree oil and citronella are also sold to prevent mosquitoes bites. Whether they work is sometimes debatable. The only way to know is to use these repellents and find out for yourself, just remain vigilant.
Mosquito repellents are available from almost any outdoors supply store. Apply the repellent to the uncovered part of the body during the day. If you wear a sunscreen, apply it prior to use of the insect repellent. Better yet, you can try 2-in-1 sunscreen plus insect repellent combination lotion. It is important to note that some of these products may not be suitable for pregnant women or those who are breast feeding.
5. Wear appropriate garments.
Mosquitoes tend to bite in open areas of the body so cover up. This may mean wearing long sleeved shirts and trousers. The fabric of the garment has to be thick because mosquitoes can bite through light fabrics. Of course, in a hot country, wearing thick fabrics may not be comfortable so you have to decide which you think is worse- the mosquito bite or a hot sweaty feeling. Today there are clothing that also contain insect repellents like permethrin.
6. Shut the windows
Most people do not realize that mosquitoes enter the home via the windows or the door. So make sure that your windows and door screens are intact and do not have gaping holes.
7. Use a mosquito trap outdoors
If you own or live on a large property which has mosquitos, then you should definitely consider putting up a mosquito trap out in your back yard. These bad boys are proven effective at attracting and trapping very large numbers of the nasty mosquitos. The best ones utilize propane, yes the same propane you use for grilling, and creates an irresistible scent that mosquitos just love, that is carbon dioxide. NEVER use these traps indoors, and you typically put them far away from your house, deep in your yard somewhere. Please follow directions carefully, and check out our top 10 pics of mosquito traps here.
8. Make them cold
Mosquitoes hate the wind and the cold. So if you want to keep out mosquitoes, keep the house cool with air conditioning or use a fan. Do not waste money on electrical gadgets to zap mosquitoes-they are a complete waste of money as they do not work.
9. Mosquito net
At night sleep under a mosquito net. There are many types of mosquito nets and some are even impregnated with insect repellents. If you are planning to travel to a tropical country and thinking of sleeping outdoors, take a portable mosquito net; it is worth the extra effort.
10. Anti-malaria drugs do not repel mosquitos
There is absolutely no need to take any antimalarial drugs prior to travel. In the days past, healthcare professionals routinely prescribed antimalarial drugs to travelers. This was overkill as it does not stop mosquitoes bites. In addition, these drugs are expensive and also have serious side effects. Unnecessary use of these antimalarials also leads to drug resistance-so get a second opinion if you are prescribed anti malarial drugs.
Avoiding mosquitoes may mean using several types of precautions. In some cases, despite all your best efforts, you will not be able to prevent mosquito bites. Remember, mosquitoes have been around for eons and are hardy insects. Use a common sense approach and if you use the above tips you will lessen the risk of mosquito bites.
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