One of the smallest things can ruin an otherwise fun and active day outdoors, mosquitoes. The pesky blood suckers not only have an irritating bite, but they are also carriers of potentially fatal diseases, like the West Nile virus and malaria. Provide yourself and family members with personal mosquito protection with these tips so you can enjoy the great outdoors without worry of being bitten.
If they can’t reach it, they can’t bite it. Cover up all skin to protect yourself. Lightweight long sleeves, pants and socks will provide personal protection from mosquitoes without causing you to overheat on warm days.
Add an extra layer of personal protection by spraying the outside of clothing with an insect repellent. Some sportswear is already infused with a mosquito repellent and may be worth a look for a family that spends a great deal of time outdoors in warm weather.
Don’t forget to cover up infants that are too young to sprayed with repellent. Use mosquito netting (spray netting with repellent before placing) over strollers and playpens.
Peak Hour Activities
Mosquitoes are most active from dusk till dawn, so avoid the early morning and late evening hours outdoors when possible.
The type of activity you are engaged in may also invite mosquitoes to feast on you, regardless of time of day. Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide, our exhaled breath. Heavy breathing will draw in the tiny blood suckers from over 100 feet away and movement, heat, sweat and body odor will allow them to target a bulls-eye on any exposed skin. Relaxing and keeping still when outdoors is an effective method of personal protection against mosquitoes.
Chemical or natural repellents work to keep mosquitoes at bay if they are used. The chemical variety with the highest amount of DEET will provide the longest-lasting protection.
Plant-based natural repellents work also, Most are made with plant oils that have been shown to repel mosquitoes, like citronella, cedar, eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint, onion, garlic, cloves and geranium. Natural repellents do have to be applied more frequently because they break down and dissipate quickly when exposed to sweat and wind. Liberally spray either type of repellent on all exposed skin and lightly spray on top of clothing, including hats and hair.
Licking County Health Dept.