With all the fun that warmer weather brings, the one negative is bug bites. Ticks are showing up in great abundance, and we all know the aggravation of mosquitos at sunset, inflicting their painful bites just when you’re ready to enjoy a summer evening.
Besides being painful and aggravating, tick and mosquito bites can also spread some very serious diseases. In this area, mosquitos can pass along West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, which can cause symptoms from a mild fever to more serious encephalitis or meningitis. If you travel, you might visit an area where they carry the Zika virus. Ticks are best known to pass along Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, just to name two.
What can you do to protect yourself?
The US Department of Health and Human Services has the following recommendations:
- Use bug repellent on your skin and clothing.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks to cover your skin.
- Check for ticks when you come inside.
- Take a shower to help wash away any ticks.
- Heat your clothes in the dryer on high for 10 minutes to kill ticks.
- Check your pets and be sure to use some form of repellent protection for them too—vet-approved meds or collars.
To keep mosquitos away from your home, you will want to check around your yard for things that can hold water, such as planters, trash cans, kiddie pools, etc. Empty them out, give them a good cleaning, and keep them covered or turned upside down. If you have a pond or fountain, add chemicals designed to kill mosquito eggs. And be sure to repair any tears in window and door screens to keep mosquitos outside.
You can keep ticks away from your house by clearing out bushes, tall grasses, and fallen leaves, since those are places ticks like to live. In addition, keep your lawn mowed and think about putting a tick control product on your yard. Separate your patio or play area from nearby woods with a boundary of wood chips or gravel, and consider a fence to keep deer away.
These few relatively simple steps can help protect you and your family from some pretty bad insect-borne illnesses. However, if you feel ill after getting a tick or mosquito bite, check with your doctor just to be safe. You can also stock up on citronella candles at Hanover True Value Hardware
and Peppermint oil from The Co-op
. Citronella candles will help keep mosquitoes away and peppermint oil is a good way to heal itchy bites if you happen to get one.
Have fun and double check yourself and family members (including your pets) after playing outside this summer.