Tips to Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites

It’ll take a bit more than just swatting the pests away.

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When you think of dangerous animals, you probably think of sharks, grizzlies, and rattlesnakes. But did you know that the animal that causes the most annual deaths worldwide is actually the mosquito? Yep: It turns out that sometimes mosquito bites are more than just annoying.

Tips to Protect Yourself From Mosquito Bites

Mosquito bites can invite itching, bleeding, and scarring, but that barely scratches the surface of the harms mosquitoes can do. Depending on where you live, mosquitoes can also transmit serious infections like malaria, yellow fever, Zika, and West Nile, among other infections. These diseases can be fatal or cause lifelong chronic illness and complications for your family.

Now that you’ve got more skin in the game, don’t leave your house without keeping these four tips in your back pocket.

1. Use insect repellent

Look for repellents that contain an active ingredient that is approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Common examples include DEET, picaridin, or lemon eucalyptus oil. Check out the full list of approved active ingredients for insect repellents on the EPA website. Note that some of these ingredients do come with risks, so talk to your doctor or pediatrician to learn more if you're concerned.

2. Wear clothing that covers your skin

If you’re going to an area that is known for a heavy mosquito population, if you’re hiking, or if it just happens to be humid, consider covering up. Dress in long sleeves, pants, and long socks. It also helps to tuck your pants into your socks so mosquitoes can't sneak up your legs. After all, arms, legs, and ankles are prime real estate for mosquitoes.

3. Control your surroundings

Keep mosquitoes out of your home by installing screens on all of your windows. Turn on your air conditioner when possible since these insects don’t like cool air. You can also try lighting citronella candles when you’re sitting outside.

4. Be cautious around areas with water

Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, so you’ll be more vulnerable to bites near lakes and ponds, or even a wheelbarrow of water. Promptly empty out rain-filled containers in your lawn, such as trash containers, buckets, or flower pots. This may reduce the amount of mosquitoes in your surroundings. You’ll also want to make sure you’re not leaving wet and dirty dishes in your sink near a window, or wait too long taking out your garbage.

Mosquitoes are both a nuisance and a health hazard, so mosquito prevention may improve your summer in more ways than one. Already feeling itchy? Learn more about how to treat symptoms from your mosquito bites.