Protecting yourself from mosquito bites can lessen the horrible itching associated with their bites and can reduce your chances of contracting several mosquito-borne illnesses, such as the Zika Virus, encephalitis, yellow fever, malaria, West Nile virus, or dengue fever. It is estimated that up to 2 million people may die each year from mosquito-borne illnesses, with malaria being the most common cause.
For personal protection, using a product that contains DEET is the most common recommendation. According to the Centers for Disease Control, other products that act as a repellant include, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products. They also caution to read and follow all label instructions. Since mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing, consider spaying your clothes as well, but no need to spray your skin under clothing that has already been sprayed with a repellant.
If possible, avoid being outside during peak mosquito-biting hours, which is basically from dusk to dawn. Mosquitoes are not the best fliers, so if you pick a site that is somewhat breezy to have your picnic during the summer, the less chance you have of being bothered by them. You can also use an electric fan and point it towards the ground, as most mosquitoes fly close to the ground to avoid the wind. Some people swear by the effectiveness of citronella candles or mosquito coils, but most experts agree that these methods of repelling mosquitoes are not that effective. Ultrasonic devices that “mimic” dragonflies and wristbands that contain DEET are also said to not be that effective. This product has to be directly on your skin to keep mosquitoes from biting.
The type of clothing you're wearing can have a positive effect on mosquito protection, except for the areas not covered. Tightly woven, synthetic fabrics like high-tech athletic fabrics do the best job of keeping mosquitoes from reaching your skin. Wearing light-colored clothing will also help to keep mosquitoes at bay. Mosquitoes are more attracted to contrasting colors than to the surrounding landscape while they are looking for a host.
Mosquitoes have been on Earth for an estimated 135 million years, so completely eliminating them is not going to happen, but you can take steps to reduce the effect they can have on you, your family and friends. Consider a treatment program performed by a professional in your effort to protect yourself from these pests.
Learn more about: