Live in or traveling to Atlanta, Chicago or Washington DC? Be sure to protect yourself from mosquitoes! The odds of being bitten by a mosquito in these three cities are the highest in America, says pest control expert Orkin. This week Orkin put out their Top 20 Mosquito Cities and Atlanta led the list for the second year in a row.
Mosquitos can cause much more damage than just an itchy bite. Orkin’s technical services director, Harrison, states “Their bites can cause allergic reactions and spread diseases, which means families need to take precautions against mosquitoes when outdoors in their own yards and around their communities, as well as when they travel. Besides being an itchy nuisance, mosquitoes can transmit diseases, including West Nile virus and encephalitis. Chikungunya, a new virus to the United States that was first found in the Americas on an island in the Caribbean in 2013, is also spread by mosquitoes”.
Are you at risk for West Nile virus?
Almost 40,000 people in the U.S. have been reported with West Nile virus disease since 1999, and of those over 17,000 have been seriously ill and more than 1600 have died. Many more cases of illness are not reported to CDC.
Anyone living in an area where West Nile virus is present in mosquitoes can get infected. West Nile virus has been detected in all lower 48 states (not in Hawaii or Alaska) and outbreaks have occurred every summer since 1999.
How to protect yourself from West Nile Virus and other mosquito transmitted diseases:
- No one is safe from any mosquito transmitted infectious diseases, but there are steps you can take to help prevent these diseases.
- Apply insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing when you go outdoors. Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent. Permethrin sprayed on clothing provides protection through several washes. Don’t spray repellent on skin under clothing and don’t use permethrin on skin.
- Cover up! Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants and socks while outdoors to prevent mosquito bites.
- Avoid mosquitoes as much as possible. Limit the amount of time you spend outdoors between dusk and dawn. During these times mosquitoes that spread West Nile virus bite most frequently.
- Support your local community mosquito control programs. Mosquito control activities are most often handled at the local level, such as through county or city government. The type of mosquito control methods used by a program depends on the time of year, the type of mosquitoes to be controlled, and the habitats where the mosquitoes live. Methods can include eliminating mosquito larval habitats, applying insecticides to kill mosquito larvae, or spraying insecticides from trucks or aircraft to kill adult mosquitoes. Your local mosquito control program can provide information about the type of products being used in your area. Check with your local health department for more information.
What insect repellent to use:
The CDC recommends a variety of safe and effective mosquito repellents. Look for these active ingredients recommended by CDC and EPA:
- Plant-based oil of lemon eucalyptus
Pick your favorite insect repellent and use it whenever you go outside!
Stay safe this Memorial Day weekend! If you have questions on how to protect yourself from mosquitos and infectious diseases tweet us @ShepardMedical.