Ahhhh – Summertime – a time when we all head outdoors to take a hike, work in the yard, and our children roll down hills and ride their bikes.
Unfortunately, the number of people who contract diseases from mosquito, tick and flea bites has more than tripled in the United States in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Don’t skip the outdoor fun. Learn how to protect yourself from mosquitoes and ticks.
- Avoid wooded areas, tall grassy fields and bushy areas
Be extra careful in these areas or try to avoid altogether; ticks live in grassy areas. Also, try not to sit in these areas or on a tree stump.
- Cover up
If you’re going to be outside, especially in the woods, protect yourself from ticks and mosquitoes by wearing long pants, long sleeves, socks and shoes. Be sure to tuck your shirt in and your pants into your socks to avoid exposed skin, especially around your ankles. Ticks tend to be low on the ground so this will help repel them at the perfect entry site. Also, wearing a hat also protects your head.
Use insect repellent on exposed skin
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency recommend using mosquito repellents that has an active ingredient of either DEET; picaridin; IR3535; oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD); or 2-undecanone. Click here to learn more about insect repellent and the correct way to apply repellent on adults and children.
- Drain standing water
Mosquitoes lay eggs near water. Once a week, turn over or throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers. If you leave a bowl of water outside for your pet, refresh it daily.
- Check your body and clothing for ticks
Take a shower after you come inside and check yourself for ticks. Check the folds of your skin, your private parts, and feel your scalp, as well as behind your ears and knees. If you’re worried about your clothing, before you drop it into the dirty clothes hamper, throw them in the dryer on high heat. Don’t forget to routinely check any outdoor pets, too. Animals with long hair greatly attract ticks.
- Dining Alfresco
If you enjoy eating outdoors, there’s no need to cancel your barbeque. Use an electric fan near your outdoor seating area to keep mosquitoes at bay. The breeze will diffuse the human scents that draw female mosquitoes, and mosquitoes have a hard time flying into the wind.
Found a tick? Click here to learn how to remove it.