Mosquito bites are all but an inevitability in the summer months that can drive even the most calm person into a state of mania. In a season where even 30 minutes spent outdoors can result in a body that incessantly itches all over, it may seem like the only option is to stay indoors. Of course, missing out on sunny days and summer get togethers is not an option, so with some planning, you can have your cake and eat it too (or at least not get eaten yourself).
Why you should be concerned about mosquito bites
Mosquito bites aren’t just an annual annoyance involving itchy skin, they can also lead to some of the worst diseases you can contract.
West Nile Virus is the most notable disease obtained through mosquito bites. While the disease itself only affects a small amount of people affected (eight out of ten individuals don’t show symptoms of the virus), it can be fatal in some instances. West Nile is typically transmitted to humans from mosquitos who have fed off of infected birds. They then spread the virus when they move on to feed off of mammals.
Malaria is a far more pressing infection garnered by mosquitos. Though not as common in the U.S., malaria is quoted by the CDC as being a “serious and sometimes fatal disease.” The disease, which affects a reported 1700 people in the U.S. annually, is contracted through tiny parasites that attach to red blood cells and are therefore easy to transmit via bloodsuckers like mosquitos.
Dengue Fever, Chikungunya Virus, and Yellow Fever are also diseases spread by mosquitos that typically affect peoples of Africa, Asia, and South America.
How to prevent mosquito bites
If the thought of dealing with itchy, potentially disease-ridden bumps is not on your summer hot list, there are a few steps you can take to minimize your attraction to mosquitos.
- Stay away from mosquito hot spots including destinations below the equator and areas where there has been consistent standing water. Mosquitos love the heat and undisturbed water gives them the perfect place to lay and hatch their eggs
- Dress like it’s summer! Mosquitos tend to hit targets that are dressed in dark color schemes like black, dark blue, and purple. Stick to lighter clothing to both refract light (keeping you cooler) and mosquitos (keeping you itch free)
- Avoid dusk and dawn which are two times of day you don’t want to be caught in mosquito territory.
- Keep it cool by circulating air when you’re outdoors. Battery fans will not only help you beat the heat, but since mosquitos aren’t strong fliers, they won’t be able to reach you with powerful wind blowing your way.
- Prepare for the battle with natural and organic bug repellants. Using a combination of sprays, candles, and perimeter guards can help you keep mosquitos as far away as possible
- Change your diet so that your blood isn’t as attractive to them. Many people believe loading up on garlic is a great deterrent, so bring on the Italian food and vampire jokes!