Fight Ticks and Mosquitos This Summer and Reclaim the Outdoors!
It’s one of the most annoying sounds that invade our space in the summer… that BZZZZZ from mosquitos. And, where there’s a buzz there's a bite, oftentimes followed by itching and swelling. Unfortunately, mosquitos aren’t the only summer pest that have a mean bite. Ticks are also on the prowl for a blood meal – and humans make great hosts.
Although tiny, these biting pests can leave bigger problems than just itchy welts on the skin. They are known to transmit germs and pathogens that cause Lyme disease, West Nile virus, Zika virus, and other dangerous diseases. What’s more, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that disease cases from mosquito, tick, and flea bites tripled in the U.S. from 2004 to 2016. This makes prevention of the utmost importance as we head into the summer months.
The good news is, you don’t have to spend the summer months cooped up inside to avoid the wrath of mosquitos and ticks. There are steps you can take to help keep these pests at bay while enjoying the great outdoors. And, the keys to doing so might be more obvious than you may think. Jorge Parada joined EverydayFamily’s Shiloh Johnson to tell us about some tips and tricks for handling insects this summer. See the full interview here:
One reason we are seeing more problems from insect bites is that the insects themselves are expanding their range. When winters are not as harsh, ticks thrive, which allows them to expand their territory and continue spreading Lyme disease. Also, new species of diseases that originate from insects, like West Nile, are being transmitted around the country by the birds they bite.
So, how can we protect ourselves and our children from insect bites this summer? Use insect repellent and cover up with appropriate clothing to make it harder for insects to get to you. Make sure you look around your house to make sure bugs can’t get in through cracks in the wall/door or through holes in the screens
Also, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of doing a tick check. With Lyme disease, it actually takes 24-48 hours of feeding before the infection is transferred from the insect to the person. So, if you do a tick check consistently, you probably won’t get an infection at all.
Now, there are so many different kinds of insect repellent. How should you choose? Some people want the strong stuff, which is usually DEET or Picaridin. But what’s the difference?
DEET vs. Picaridin
DEET doesn’t actually kill mosquitos. Instead, it truly repels bugs. By messing with the neurons on their antennae and mouths, DEET forces mosquitos to back up—and not just mosquitos. The chemical mixture is effective on flies, gnats, and chiggers too.
Picaridin is an odorless synthetic ingredient found in some bug repellents. It is relatively new in the United States but has been used in Europe for more than 10 years. It is similar to DEET and provides long-lasting protection against bugs. Plus, products with Picaridin can be used on babies as young as 2 months.
The thing to know is that all bug sprays are quite effective but vary in concentration.
If you don’t want a repellent with DEET, these are all parent-recommended:
Not comfortable with any of those? Check out these articles for more options and treatments:
There are even fancy gadgets out there if you don’t want to put anything on at all! Go out and have a good time this summer, but take remember to take precautions.