Summer in Virginia brings warmer weather, high humidity and plenty of mosquitoes. Not only are mosquito bites itchy and uncomfortable, but mosquitoes can also carry serious diseases. Here are some tips to prevent mosquito bites and their harmful effects this summer.
Empty Standing Water After it Rains
We’ve had a lot of rain this season. Did you know standing water is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes?
As the temperatures warm up this summer, it will get worse. To prevent this, empty the standing water around your house after it rains.
Check places like your garbage can, flower pots and other containers, as well as wagons and other kid’s toys that can hold a little bit of water. Make sure your gutters are cleaned out too! The build up of leaves in your gutters can stop the flow of water. That means water sits in your gutters after it rains instead of draining like it should.
Cover Yourself Up to Prevent Mosquito Bites
“Clothing provides the best protection”, according to this Scouting Magazine article. In the warmer summer weather, we tend to wear less, not more. But when you know you’ll be in a place with lots of mosquitoes, it helps to cover up more.
If you’re going camping, hiking, picnicking by the river, fishing or even getting ready to watch fireworks, there will be mosquitoes all around. Choose lightweight pants and long-sleeved shirts to prevent mosquito bites. If you’re by the water, remember to wear your life jacket too!
For even more coverage, wear a hood, long-brimmed hat, or even a handkerchief around your neck or tucked under your hat. As an added bonus, this extra coverage will protect you from harmful UV rays.
Use Insect Repellent Too!
For another layer of protection against mosquito bites, or a first layer if you can’t cover up, use insect repellent. The same Scouting Magazine article says, “The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using an insect repellent that contains at least 20% DEET. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends products with up to 30% DEET for kids. (DEET should not be used on children under 2 months)”. [cub scout article].
Spray insect repellent on the exterior of clothing. Don’t forget about your hats and socks!
You may think it’s easier to use one product that will protect against both bugs and the sun. But think again. “The CDC advises against using products that contain both bug repellent and sunscreen. Instead, use separate products. Apply the sunscreen first, let dry and then apply the repellent,” Scouting Magazine instructs.
Alternatives to Bug Spray
Now there are so many alternatives to bug spray. We like to use bracelets that contain an insect repellent. They’re quick to put on, easy to remove and reusable. My son uses these while playing baseball. There are plenty of insects waiting in the outfield.
Whatever product you choose, keep some on hand in your outdoor bag, sports bag or right by the front door so you don’t forget to use it. We hope you protect yourself and your family this summer and use these tips to prevent mosquito bites.