Avoid Mosquito Bites
- Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient (DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535) according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.
- Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning in areas of high risk.
- Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
- Drain Standing Water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change the water in birdbaths frequently.
- Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Protect Your Animals
Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools – especially after heavy rains. Water troughs provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas. Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes. Owners should also speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and EEE. If an animal is suspected of having WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to DAR, Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the Department of Public Health (DPH) by calling 617-983-6800.
More information, including all WNV and EEE positive results, can be found on the Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page at www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito or by calling the DPH Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800.
West Nile Virus & Mosquito Bite Prevention
Due to isolations of West Nile virus in our area, increased abundance of the mosquito species which transmits WNV, and elevated temperatures, MDPH has raised the WNV risk level in Middlesex County. Isolations of WNV in mosquitoes from your area are likely to occur in the coming weeks. Late August through September is the period of highest risk for WNV human transmission. This is an opportune time to engage with the public to stress personal prevention actions. Updated risk maps may be found here http://www.mosquitoresults.com
Preventing Mosquito Bites
Why is it important to prevent mosquito bites?
Mosquitoes can spread diseases that make you sick. In Massachusetts, mosquitoes can give you eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus and West Nile virus (WNV).
Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is a rare but serious disease. Symptoms include high fever, stiff neck, headache, and lack of energy. Swelling of the brain, called encephalitis, is the most dangerous complication, and can cause coma and death. Most cases in Massachusetts occur in the southeastern part of the state.
West Nile virus infections are more common than EEE, but most do not cause any symptoms. Mild WNV infections can cause fever, headache and body aches, often with a skin rash and swollen lymph glands. A small number of people (less than 1 out of 100) who get infected with West Nile virus develop more serious illness; this is more common in people over the age of 50. Symptoms of serious illness include headache, high fever, stiff neck, confusion, muscle weakness, tremors (shaking), convulsions, coma, paralysis swelling of the brain, and sometimes death.
Only a small number of mosquitoes are infected at any given time, so being bitten by a mosquito does not mean you will get sick. However, the best way to avoid both of these illnesses is to prevent mosquito bites.
See your doctor if you develop these symptoms.
What is the best way to prevent mosquito bites?
Use mosquito repellent any time you are outdoors. Even being out a short time can be long enough to get a mosquito bite. Make sure to follow directions on the label.-
Be aware of mosquitoes around you. If mosquitoes are biting you, reapply repellent, or think about going inside.-
Be aware of peak mosquito hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many species of mosquitoes. Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing during evening and early morning -- or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.
Use mosquito netting on baby carriages or playpens when your baby is outdoors.
When weather permits, wear long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors.
Make sure screens are repaired and are tightly attached to doors and windows.
Remove standing water from places like ditches, gutters, old tires, wheel barrows, and wading pools. Mosquitoes can begin to grow in any puddle or standing water that lasts for more than four days, so don’t let water collect around your home.
Avoid camping overnight near freshwater swamps to reduce your risk of exposure to mosquitoes that carry the EEE virus. If you do go camping, use a tent with mosquito netting and use appropriate repellents.
What kind of mosquito repellent should I use?
Different repellents work against different bugs. It is important to look at the active ingredient on the product label. Repellents that contain DEET, permethrin, picaridin or IR3535 provide protection against mosquitoes. In addition, oil of lemon eucalyptus has been found to provide as much protection as low concentrations of DEET.
DEET products should not be used on infants under 2 months of age. Children older than two months should use products with DEET concentrations of 30% or less. In general, the higher the percentage of DEET, the longer it lasts. Products with DEET concentrations higher than 30% do not provide better protection, but they do last longer. Be sure to read the label to see what the concentration of DEET is, and how often it should be reapplied.
Permethrin products are intended to be used on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin. Apply the permethrin to your clothes before you put them on and follow the instructions on the label.
Tick Season is Here
When winter is coming to a close and we are getting ready for the warmer weather, many of us look forward to heading outdoors and enjoying some sunshine. There are many reasons to go outside and it certainly can be a wonderful time of year. Unfortunately, it is also the time of year when we need to be cautious about getting ticks. It can really ruin the day.
If you are somebody that tends to spend a lot of time outdoors, you need to be able to effectively protect yourself from ticks. They are more than just a nuisance or a pest that makes us uncomfortable, they carry diseases, some of which are very dangerous and even deadly. The next time you’re out enjoying what the great outdoors has to offer, consider this simple trick and you can keep ticks from latching on and causing problems.
Lint roller and essential oil
In order to use this tip, you will need a roller and some essential oils. The lint roller should use adhesive layers. Take it with you when you’re going outside and roll it on your clothing every once in a while. You might be surprised with what you pick up in a very short amount of time.
Adding some essential oil may help to keep the ticks from climbing on you while you are outside. Spray the essential oil on your clothing and rub it into your skin and the ticks may just stay away. It also works for mosquitoes and black flies. It’s a good alternative to insect repellent and reduces your chemical exposure.
Here are 5 essential oils that repel bugs.
1. Lavender – This smells sweet to us but bugs absolutely hate it. It works on mosquitoes, flies and other insects.
2. PennyRoyal – this is a member of the mint family and it is toxic to insects.
3. Lemongrass – This essential oil comes from tropical lemongrass and has a citrusy sent. It is a natural flea and tick repellent and can be sprayed directly on the skin.
4. Eucalyptus – use this alone or along with citronella oil to keep bugs away. According to the Journal of medical entomology, Eucalyptus extract can reduce tick bites and infections.
5. Lemon – some lemon essential oil can work against fleas and other bugs. Slightly dilute it and spray it on your clothing and skin.