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Westminster At Lake Ridge Blog

WLR Blog
Posted: Friday, August 5, 2016

Fight the bite! 8 ways to repel mosquitoes

Are you a mosquito magnet? Some people are, and research has now determined why.

Dr. James Logan of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine says that some people naturally produce fragrances that attract mosquitoes, while others emit chemical smells that repel the insects.

Mosquito and other insects can spread diseases like the Zika and West Nile viruses. Even if they don’t make you sick, they are itchy and annoying. So it’s important to stop them before they bite.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have launched a “Fight the Bite” campaign this summer. In conjunction with state and local health departments, they’re urging everyone to take precautions against mosquito bites. Here are 8 ways to do that.

  1. Use a repellent when you’re outside. Repellents containing DEET don’t work against some mosquitoes, but Dr. Logan says it’s still the most effective repellent. DEET is generally considered safe to use as directed in concentrations of 20 to 30 percent. Experts recommend using the lowest concentration suggested for the time you’ll be outdoors. If you need only a few hours of protection, you can find formulas containing 7 to 10 percent DEET. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should apply sunscreen first and allow it to dry for 5 to 10 minutes before applying insect repellent.

    People who don’t want to use DEET products can find DEET-free repellents containing ingredients such as oil of lemon eucalyptus, rosemary extract and citronella. They vary in effectiveness. Skin So Soft, a product made by Avon that contains a repellent called IR3535, is another popular non-DEET repellent, but it doesn’t work for everybody.

    Companies such as Insect Shield make clothing treated with permethrin, a natural repellent derived from chrysanthemums. Whether you’re in your backyard or hiking in the woods, you’ll be protected from mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, flies and no-see-ums. The protection lasts through about 70 washings. You can find permethrin-treated clothing at stores such as REI and online.
  2. Stop mosquitoes from breeding. They lay their eggs in standing water, so be sure to empty containers, buckets, plant pots and so forth. Turn them upside down to store so water doesn’t puddle inside. Check your gutters, too, for standing water.
  3. Take greater precautions when you are involved in outdoor activities at dusk and dawn, because mosquitoes are most active during these times.
  4. Dress in pants and long sleeves outdoors when possible.
  5. If you’re cooking outside, toss a little sage or rosemary onto the grill. These herbs repel mosquitoes.
    6. Want to avoid mosquitoes while sitting on your deck or patio, without having to use a repellent? Place a fan or two behind your chair. Mosquitoes are lightweight, weak fliers, and the breezes produced by fans simply blow them away.
  6. Plant lemongrass on your deck or patio. It contains citronella oil, which masks the human odors that attract mosquitoes.
  7. Use LEDs or yellow bug lights outdoors. Mosquitoes are attracted to standard bulbs.

If you experience severe headaches or confusion after a mosquito bite, you should seek medical attention immediately.

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