As summer approaches, so do those annoying summertime pests: mosquitos. Unfortunately, they’re more than just a nuisance—their bites can be deadly if they become infected.
Although mosquito bites are a big problem, there are steps you can take to avoid them. If you do get a mosquito bite, simple treatments are available for relieving the itchiness and discomfort.
One of the best ways to avoid mosquito bites is with application of a high-quality repellent. Unfortunately, citronella candles or mosquito-repelling bracelets, are ineffective.
Effective repellent options include:
DEET Products: According to the EPA, this chemical repellent is highly effective in preventing mosquito bites when used properly, and these products pose no health risks for children or adults. DEET products from OFF!â include Cutter Skinsations, Repel, and Deep Woods.
Picaridin: The Zika Foundation has noted that this chemical can be effective for roughly six to eight hours. It can be found in brands such as Natrapel and Sawyer.
Lemon Eucalyptus: Based on CDC studies, this plant-based repellent has been proven just as effective as many that contain DEET. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is marketed as Cutter, Repel, and BugShield.
Empty Any Items That Collect Rainfall
Do you know what kiddie pools, toy chests, pots, buckets, and trashcans have in common? They all collect rainwater. When rainwater accumulates in them, they’ll eventually attract pesky mosquitos—and it’s also where the females will lay their eggs. They must be emptied as soon as possible to avoid a mosquito infestation. Make sure to check around your house for any other things that could collect water. To treat standing water that cannot be avoided, such as shallow pools and drainage ditches, use Mosquito Dunks. This natural and non-toxic product kills the larvae and avoids an infestation.
Avoid Exercising Outside
Mosquitos are attracted to movement and heat, actively seeking out the chemicals in your sweat and breath, so it’s a good idea to avoid exercising outside. While mosquitos’ peak hours are sunrise and sunset, they remain active at any time of day and night. If you choose to exercise outside, wear bug spray to avoid being bitten.
Wear Mosquito-Repellent Clothing
To prevent mosquito bites, consider wearing clothing that repels mosquitos. Several brands offer this specific kind of clothing that are designed to repel mosquitos for about 25 washings, and they remain effective as long as you avoid dry-cleaning them. This clothing is pre-treated with permethrin, a highly effective bug-repellent.
An alternative to buying clothes that are pre-treated with permethrin is to treat your own clothes with permethrin spray. If you choose this option, make sure that you never spray permethrin directly on your skin, as the chemical could cause irritation, such as itching and burning, according to the National Pesticide Information Center.
If you don’t want to wear clothing treated with permethrin spray, you can wear high-tech athleisure wear that’s made with synthetic fibers such as rayon, polyester, and nylon. Since synthetics are more tightly woven, they can block bug bites more effectively than linen and cotton.
Regardless of the mosquito-repellent clothing you choose, you’ll still need to wear insect repellent on exposed skin.
Trade Sandals for Sneakers
Mosquitos are attracted to sandals because they’re often sweaty and dirty, therefore you should wear tennis shoes instead. If you’re not a fan of sneakers, wear shoes that completely cover your feet so that no bare skin is showing. The most important thing to keep in mind isn’t the particular type of shoe you wear, but that your entire foot is covered.
Skip the Floral Fragrances
Research has shown that some mosquitos are attracted to certain floral fragrances. If you plan on being outside for a good portion of the day, you should reconsider wearing floral fragrances to avoid bug bites.
Incorporating certain items into your patio décor can also help make the time you spend outside your home more enjoyable. For example, since mosquitoes cannot fly against the wind, having an outdoor fan will deter them from coming near your outdoor area.
Another effective method for mosquito control is a mosquito magnet trap. These powerful products are specifically designed to attract, capture, and kill mosquitos by emitting carbon dioxide, heat, and moisture.
If You Get a Mosquito Bite, Don’t Scratch It
For most people, a mosquito bite causes a small, raised bump that itches for a several hours. For those who are highly sensitive to the mosquito’s saliva, the bump can turn into a large, swollen sore that itches for a few days. While it’s extremely hard to do, you must resist scratching the bite to avoid injuring your skin, which could allow bacteria to get in and cause an infection.
Mosquito Bite Remedies
At-home mosquito bites treatment options range from applying ice packs to using over-the-counter anti-itch creams and antihistamines. To the relieve the itchiness—and reduce the chances of your bite becoming infected—be sure to:
- Thoroughly wash the bite with soap and warm water
- Take an over-the-counter oral antihistamine, such as Benadryl
- Use a cortisone cream or calamine lotion
- Place an ice pack or a cool, moist cloth on the area
If a mosquito bite has swelling and redness that don’t go away within 72 hours, it could be infected. Your FastMed professionals are available during extended hours, 365 days a year, to provide immediate care. No appointment is required. Walk in at your convenience or reduce your wait time by checking in and registering online first.
FastMed Urgent Care owns and operates nearly 200 centers in North Carolina, Arizona and Texas that provide a broad range of acute/episodic and preventive healthcare services 365 days a year. FastMed also provides workers’ compensation and other occupational health services at all its centers, and family and sports medicine services at select locations. FastMed has successfully treated more than six million patients and is the only independent urgent care operator in North Carolina, Arizona and Texas to be awarded The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for quality, safety and infection control in ambulatory healthcare. For more information about locations, services, hours of operation, insurance and prices, visit www.fastmed.com.