Ah, the great outdoors! What’s better than exploring? But mosquitoes can put a damper on any camping trip, vacation, or exploration. Oakland County Health Division has some great tips on how to prevent those pesky little bites!
Oakland County offers educational tools and tips to help protect your family from diseases spread by bug bites, including the West Nile Virus and the Zika Virus. The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to avoid being bitten. The following can help protect you and your family from mosquito bites:
- Spray clothing and exposed skin with insect repellent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend use of insect repellents containing active ingredients registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Two products registered with the EPA that have shown a high degree of effectiveness are DEET and Picaridin
- Always follow manufacturer’s directions on insect repellent carefully, especially when using on children
- Minimize activities where mosquitoes are present, such as shaded areas
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants outdoors when the weather permits
- Eliminate standing water in your yard
- Empty water from mosquito breeding sites, such as flower pots, pet bowls, clogged rain gutters, swimming pool covers, discarded tires, buckets, barrels, cans, and similar items in which mosquitoes can lay eggs
- Keep mosquitoes outside: fix windows that could let mosquitoes in, do not leave doors open, use air conditioning
- Additional precautions to protect from the Zika Virus:
- Avoid outdoor activities during daylight for about two hours after sunrise and several hours before sunset
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites at night in well-lit areas
- Avoid areas where mosquitoes may be present, including indoor areas
- Pregnant women should consider postponing travel to areas with ongoing Zika virus outbreaks
- For up-to-date information regarding CDC’s Zika virus travel restrictions, click here, or contact Oakland County Health Division’s Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For up-to-date information about pregnancy and Zika virus, click here.
Two other bugs known for their persistent behavior are horseflies (also known as black flies or deer flies) and ticks. Horseflies carry diseases that can be passed through contact with both animals and humans. They cause pain to animals and humans by biting through the skin and require blood to reproduce. There is no definite way to prevent horsefly bites, but wearing long pants or sleeves and using bug repellent when available will help.
Ticks can be found in wooded areas as well as areas with bushes and high grass. They will attach to people and animals with their head buried under the skin. Ticks should be removed as soon as possible, once discovered, as they can transmit diseases to hosts. Once a tick has been found and removed, clean the affected area thoroughly and make note of where the tick might have bit you. If symptoms of illness occur, head to the doctor immediately as many tick borne illnesses require treatment.
If you are traveling learn the risks of the mosquitoes and other bugs in the states or countries you are traveling to, and don’t forget to pack travel sized insect repellent.