Mosquitoes love humans. It’s not a reciprocal relationship. If you’re into the outdoors you know how maddening it is to share a tent with just one mosquito. But besides their buzzing annoyance, these blood-sucking insects spread serious life-threatening viruses not necessarily confined to tropical areas.
West Nile is a mosquito-borne virus that has succeeded in spreading everywhere in the United States. Another is the Zika virus, the latest to make headline news with its scary potential to cause birth defects in babies born to women infected with the virus during pregnancy. There is concern that the Zika virus could also spread into continental United States by people who travel to areas where the Zika virus is prevalent.
“Dengue, chikungunya and Zika are the ones that I’m very fearful of for the Gulf Coast states [such as Florida and Texas], and Zika is the most terrifying of all because of the horrific birth defects,” said Dr. Peter Jay Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.
Because there are no antiviral medications yet available to fight off these mosquito-borne viruses, the best line of defense is to avoid getting bit by mosquitoes. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) prevention is key if you travel.
But how can you protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites in your own backyard? No matter where you live, you should do what you can to keep mosquitoes away.
Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Remove or cover any containers on your property that collects water: birdbaths, buckets, flowerpots and saucers, trashcans, wheelbarrows.
Wear protective clothing. Try a repellant that contains Deet or Picaridin. Or try an eco-friendly alternative like Green Guard that is safe, effective, and reliable.