Four steps to prevent mosquito bites and the diseases that come with them

BALTIMORE — The summer months continue to bring hot weather and — when you add summer rainfall to the mix — bothersome mosquitos. It's an unfortunate reality that during this time of year mosquitos are at their peak. And as the mosquito population increases, so do the chances of getting bitten by them, some of which may be carrying diseases.

"Exposure to mosquitoes increases the risk of painful mosquito bites and the risk of West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases," said mosquito expert Jonathan Cohen, president of Summit Responsible Solutions. "Because mosquitoes carry West Nile virus, and because every state in the continental USA has reported cases of West Nile virus during the past two years, it's important to avoid being bitten at all."

There are steps that consumer can take to better prevent being bitten and to protect themselves from diseases like West Nile Virus:

  • Drain it: Any containers that can hold water are a hot spot for mosquitos to breed. That means draining kids' swimming pools, wheelbarrows, plant saucers and buckets. Changing the water in pet dishes and replacing water in bird baths frequently is also recommended;
  • Dress smart: Clothing provides a barrier between consumers and a mosquito. Wear long sleeves and pants to prevent bites. Wearing a hat also helps to prevent bites;
  • Dawn and Dusk: Try to avoid being outside at dawn or dusk — these are times when mosquitos are at their peak; and
  • Deter: Use repellents to deter mosquiotos and keep them at bay.

"Knowing a little bit about mosquitoes can help prevent painful and potentially dangerous mosquito bites," Cohen said. "Knowing that female mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water and draining standing water is a key to keeping mosquito populations down. Avoiding contact with mosquitoes whenever possible will also greatly reduce the chances of getting bitten."

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