How to prepare for mosquito season

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney
  • 20th Medical Group
As the weather gets warmer, it is important to take the proper precautions to avoid a thriving mosquito population, one of the most common summer inconveniences.

Mosquitos are not only annoying, but also vectors for potentially dangerous diseases, such as the West Nile and Zika viruses. Since early 2016, Zika has been on the radar of both the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control.

Here are some facts about the Zika virus:

— The Zika virus is transmitted primarily through the bite of infected mosquitos. Other modes of transmission include laboratory exposure, sexual activity, blood transfusions, and mother to child during birth.
— Symptoms are quite mild in nature and can include fever, rash, joint pain, muscle pain, and headaches. Approximately 80 percent of infected persons will not show symptoms.
— Zika came to the attention of health organizations due to its link to birth defects and various complications with the fetus during pregnancy. The health risk for the rest of the population is relatively low.

So how can you protect yourself from potential virus infections? The answer is simple: mosquito prevention.

Eliminating mosquito breeding areas around the home can drastically reduce mosquito populations and your chances for infection. Mosquitos develop in water that has been allowed to stand for more than five days.

Some common spots where water can collect include:

— Pools and birdbaths
— Toys and garden equipment
— Rain gutters
— Old tires
— Tree rot holes or hollow stumps
— Leaky faucets
— Pet bowls

Keeping these areas clean and changing water sources daily will eliminate breeding areas for mosquitos and reduce their population; however, it will not totally eradicate them.

So how do you avoid being bitten?

— Mosquitoes are active at dawn, dusk, evening hours and at night.
— Make sure screens on windows, doors, and porches are in good condition
— Keep car windows and garage doors closed at night
— Eliminate overgrown grass and weeds to reduce mosquito living areas
— Wear mosquito repellents that contain DEET, IR3535, Oil of Lemon, Eucalyptus, or Picaridin

Stay safe this summer by utilizing these tips to avoid any unnecessary and inconvenient encounters with mosquitos. Find out more information about mosquito prevention at