Five Ways to Prevent Mosquito-Borne Illness
Have you ever looked down at your leg or arm and noticed a red, itchy bump? Most will answer “yes, it was a mosquito bite.” But did you know that mosquito bites can be more than just a nuisance? Some mosquitoes actually carry viruses which can make people sick or in rare instances cause death.
There are various types of mosquitoes that spread different viruses and bite at different times of the day. These include:
- Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus: These mosquitoes spread Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya viruses and primarily bite during the day; however, they can bite during the night as well.
- Culex species: This mosquito spreads West Nile virus and bites from the evening to the morning.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that prevention is the best way to avoid getting sick from viruses spread by mosquitoes when at home or during travel.
Here are five ways you can prevent mosquito bites and mosquito-borne illness:
- Don’t keep free-standing water around your house or in your backyard. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Empty, cover or treat any areas of your yard that may have water.
- Make sure your windows and doors are closed tightly. If not, you are opening up your home for mosquitos to enter and possibly bite you. Use air conditioning to cool your indoor spae rather than open your windows when possible.
- If you are going to any area that has a high prevalence of mosquitoes, be sure to wear long sleeves, pants and shoes with socks.
- Use insect repellent. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends using insect repellents such as DEET. Learn more here.
“Another word to the wise is that pregnant women or those looking to become pregnant should steer clear of traveling to areas with a high prevalence of mosquito-borne illnesses, such as Zika,” said Mark G. Magged MD, a PIH Health Family Medicine physician. To learn more, visit the CDC website.