How to Prevent Mosquito Bites

by Dennis Kim

The buzz of a mosquito can be one of the most irritating sounds to the human ear. If you’re in a zone where mosquitoes can transmit disease, it can also be a dangerous one. If you’re planning to camp, canoe, hike or garden, you can prevent mosquito bites before you even step outside.

According to Joseph Conlon, technical advisor for the American Control Association, mosquito-borne diseases, including malaria, zika virus, Dengue and yellow fever, and West Nile virus, have been on the rise over the past few years. The primary mosquito being the Aedes aegypti, otherwise known as the yellow fever mosquito, is found in highly populated areas and is present in parts of North America.

If you’re planning any outdoor activities during quarantine, then make sure you’re prepared and pack mosquito repellent.

So, why do some people get more mosquito bites than others?

Turns out, some people are genetically more susceptible to bites. Mosquitoes can be attracted to different chemicals (like lactic acid) found in human skin and those with a higher metabolic rate produce more carbon dioxide, which tends to attract more mosquitoes.

How you can prevent mosquito bites

Although mosquitoes are an inevitable part of summer activities doesn’t mean you’re completely defenceless. To protect your health and your annoyance levels, we created a list of things you can do to prevent bites all season long. To start, you can:

1) Get rid of any still / standing water

Still water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Uncovered rain barrels, vases, puddles, water tanks and bird baths are just a few examples. The best thing you can do is keep still water away from your home to avoid further bug bites.

2) Conventional pesticides (mosquito spray)

Some chemical repellents have been around for 40 years and they can still be the most effective ways to prevent mosquito bites. DEET products (including Off!, Deep Woods, Cutter

Skinsations and more) are just a few of the brands you can use when you're outdoors. Mosquito repellents are easy to pack and you can add them to your personal protective equipment list for your next trip.

3) Natural options: Biopesticides

If you’re looking for a natural remedy, you have a few options. To start, you can try lemon eucalyptus oil. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention says this natural repellent protects just as well as DEET products.

4) Protective clothing

You can buy spray-on pesticides made especially for clothing, tents, shoes and nets. This fabric spray will stop mosquitoes from biting you through your clothes. If the fabric spray you buy has permethrin-based, make sure you don’t apply it directly to your skin.

If you know you’re going into mosquito zones, make sure to cover up and wear pants and long-sleeve shirts to avoid further discomfort. A lot of outdoor and protective clothing is easy to pack and can fit well with your travel first aid kit.

5) Prepare your yard

If you plan on spending weekends in your backyard or partaking in an outdoor activity during covid, you can prevent mosquitoes from taking over with these tricks:

- Spread coffee and tea waste (it limits the reproduction of mosquitoes)

- Employ spatial repellents

- Trim your green spaces

- Hang mosquito nets

- Use oscillating fans

The takeaway

If you want protection against mosquitoes, the best thing you can do is use DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus products. Natural products work too, but sometimes won’t be as effective as chemical-based ones.

If you’re spending a lot of time outdoors this summer, add mosquito repellent to your mini first aid kit.

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