Mosquitoes and Buzzing, Oh My! Avoid Bites This Summer and Stay Healthy
Avoid Bites This Summer and Stay Healthy
“Most mosquito bites are just an itchy annoyance, but they can be dangerous, too,” said Health Plan of San Joaquin Health Promotions Manager Jenny Dominquez.
Dominguez says that “some mosquitoes carry viruses or parasites. These include West Nile virus, Zika virus, malaria, dengue and yellow fever. These can enter your body when the bugs suck your blood – and they can make you very sick.”
Whether the bites may be annoying, or dangerous, Dominguez says, “The smart move is to avoid mosquitoes as much as possible, and to stay in touch with public health agency reports as they impact our community.”
Here’s good advice, to start now and take into autumn.
- Mosquitoes peak from dusk to dawn. Try to limit your time outside during those hours.
- During day time – avoid calm, shady areas and pools of standing water.
- They love bright clothing and heavy perfumes. So save these for another season.
- Use bug spray. Check the label. Look for DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. And choose products registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (click here for the EPA site, including Información relacionada disponible en español). Spray it on your skin and clothing, but not under your clothes.
- Take cover. Wear long sleeves and pants. Socks, too. If your garments are thin, spray them as well. You also can buy clothing and gear treated with repellent.
- Try mosquito netting. Use it on your child’s crib, stroller and carrier.
- Don’t let them in! Install screens on doors and windows. Repair any holes.
- Prevent breeding sites. Standing water attracts mosquitoes. Don’t leave water in planters, buckets, pet dishes, toys, trash cans, or gutters. Clean birdbaths at least once a month.
Try these treatments, when a mosquito bite is localized and annoying, but not dangerous
- Elevate the affected area and apply ice to reduce swelling and any pain.
- Apply over-the-counter lotion to the affected area.
- Clean blisters with soap and water without breaking them.
- If itching persists, try topical steroids or oral antihistamines.
Contact your health care provider, or your health plan’s nurse advice phone line, if the swelling progresses or the area appears infected.
Traveling for work or vacation?
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has great advice for what to pack, and destination-specific risks along with recommendations for staying healthy. Go to their page, Prevent Mosquito Bites, by clicking here.
Local government on your side
If you encounter swarms of biting mosquitoes during daytime hours, that is not normal. Contact vector control for your county. County health service web sites are also a good place to see latest alerts.
- San Joaquin County Health Services, click here to report daytime biting mosquitoes, or call them at 209-982-4675 or 1-800-300-4675; also click here for their section “Current CDC Zika Virus Updates”
- Stanislaus County Health Services , click or call to report
Mosquito Bite Prevention (United States)
The CDC has created these printable double-sided small posters, Mosquito Bite Prevention (United States), available in English and Spanish.