What You Need to Know About Ticks, Mosquitoes and Bug Bite Prevention
Ticks and mosquitos are more than just a nuisance; bites from these and other insects can transmit diseases such as Lyme Disease and Zika Virus that pose a threat to human health. When enjoying outdoor activities there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from tick, mosquitos, and other biting bugs.
Use Insect Repellent:
Apply insect repellent every time you venture outdoors.
Choose an EPA registered insect repellent that contains one of the following active ingredients:
DEET (at least 20%)
Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE-this product should not be used on children under three)
para-menthane diol (PMD).
Many "natural" insect repellents are available on the market but only products with these ingredients are proven effective at repelling ticks and other insects that can transmit potentially dangerous diseases. If you aren't sure which product to choose, the EPA provides a search tool here that allows you to find an insect repellent that is right for you and your family. EPA registered repellents are safe for pregnant women and babies 2 months and older. Check with your doctor if you have any question about the safety of using insect repellent as it pertains to your health.
Cover Skin: Whenever possible wear clothing and a hat to cover exposed skin. When engaging in outdoor activities such as hiking and camping, it is especially helpful to wear long sleeves, pants, and socks to prevent ticks from getting on your skin or crawling up pant legs. Apply insect repellent to the outside of clothing rather than to skin underneath clothing.
Avoid Insect and Tick Habitats: Mosquitos lay their eggs in water and even the smallest amount of standing water can provide the ideal place for a female to lay her eggs. Check the area around your home for standing water. Children's swimming pools, outdoor toys, and gardening areas are some common locations where water can accumulate quickly and invite mosquitos.
Ticks thrive in wooded areas with plenty of brush, trees, and high grass and unlike mosquitoes, they don't fly and can go unnoticed. Long sleeves, pants, and a hat are especially important to deter ticks. After you leave the area check your clothing for ticks, paying special attention to creases and hard-to-reach areas such as the backs of your knees, behind the ears, armpits, and knees.
With the proper information about ticks, mosquitos, and bug bite prevention it is possible to fully enjoy the outdoors and keep yourself and your family healthy.