Mosquitoes – Just itching to ruin summer
The low buzz of a mosquito just before it bites is a sound that can ruin many of summer’s most popular pastimes like backyard barbecues and lazy days by the pool. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Understanding those pesky summertime pests can help you prevent them from taking a bite out of your warm weather plans.
What is a Mosquito Bite and Who Gets Them?
Mosquitoes are part of the insect group that includes gnats and houseflies. Only female mosquitoes bite–sucking out tiny amounts of blood from their victims. A bite can then become inflamed and itchy, which may not always be dangerous but is usually annoying and uncomfortable. In some case, mosquito bites can transmit diseases like malaria and West Nile virus in humans as well as heartworm disease in dogs.
Some people are mostly ignored by these troublesome insects, while other less fortunate folks can’t spend more than five minutes outside without attracting at least one or two bites. In fact, research shows that roughly 20 percent of the population is more prone to mosquito bites that others. This includes:
People with type O blood. Individuals with type O blood are the preferred targets for mosquitoes and are bitten twice as often as people with other blood types.
People who exhale large amounts of carbon dioxide. This group typically contains people who may be larger in size and/or pregnant.
People wearing certain colors. Black, dark blue, or red clothing attracts more mosquitoes that white or khaki, according to at least one study.
People with certain genetics. Genetics may determine the composition of certain chemicals such as uric and/or lactic acid. this can attract mosquitoes if present in your blood or sweat.
When is it Time to Call a Doctor?
There are many home remedies and over the counter medications available to help you deal with any minor itching or swelling caused by a mosquito bite. These include:
- Aloe Vera
- Lemon juice
- Baking soda
- Calamine lotion
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Claritin or other loratidine medications
Sometimes, however you need to call a doctor. If you develop any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately:
- High fever
- Stiff neck
- Decreased level of consciousness
- Bites becoming larger and more inflamed
- Hives or red streaks
What Can You Do?
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, and their young develop there. This makes it important to limit any pools of standing water in and around your home. Get rid of old tires and any other containers that can hold water and create a breeding ground.
Some plants like geraniums, marigolds, lavender, and mint can repel mosquitoes. Placing them around the yard and in window boxes can be effective in the fight to stay bite free.
Placing a fan near where you are planning to spend some time outdoors can keep mosquitoes away by making it difficult for them to fly. A water misting system or good screen on your porch can help keep the flying nuisances at bay. Tiki torches or citronella candles placed nearby can also be useful. Finally, topical creams and sprays can be an easy way to prevent mosquitoes from turning your body into a summer feast.