By BJ Bacha, Mosquito Authority
Wet fall? Check. Mild winter? Check. Warm spring? Check. Little known virus causing commotion? Check. If you ever wanted a recipe for mosquitoes, there it is. They are making a buzz and it has already been a noisy 2016 at Mosquito Authority. We have adopted a team motto for this year and it is “Be Proactive.” Mosquito season in Charlotte typically starts late March and ends late October/early November. Unfortunately, mosquitoes don’t have a calendar that says “start now” and we have already had reports of activity just after Valentine’s Day. We’re here to help you be proactive.
While it’s scary to think about mosquito-borne diseases, my wife, Heather, and I get to experience it first hand when we visit the 2 boys that we sponsor in Honduras. On our visits, we have met countless children and adults that have been effected at one time or another by West Nile, Chikungunya or Malaria. Many have been hospitalized and simply cringe when retelling the symptoms that they experienced. Unfortunately, places like this do not have the resources to combat mosquitoes like we do here. As much as I dislike spraying bug spray on myself, I don’t go anywhere in Honduras without it and if you plan on traveling to that part of the globe we strongly suggest packing some as well.
Suggestions: Sawyer Picaridin or anything with DEET.
Sawyer Picaridin has gained popularity for those that don’t like DEET. I still use DEET- I know it’s working because it’s burning. 🙂
We are also staying up to date on the Zika Virus and have a website to help you answer any questions that you may have. Please visit www.stopzika.org. If you are pregnant or hopeful to become pregnant, please travel with caution this summer. A friend of ours was planning on joining our mission team in Honduras but was advised not to when she became pregnant.
The 5 Things Every Mom Should Know About Mosquitoes
1. Mosquitoes LOVE children. They run, they play, they sweat, they get out of breath. The carbon dioxide and perspiration they generate by, well, just being kids makes them mosquito magnets. Mosquitoes can sense their next blood meal from more than 150 feet away. They also spend their time in sandboxes and playhouses and other “mosquito havens.” Mosquitoes love damp, shady areas rich in foliage, and females need less than a bottle cap worth of water to lay eggs. So the nooks and crannies in that overturned toy, that little rain puddle by the slide and the kiddie pool from last Saturday are the perfect places for mosquitoes to hang out, catch a blood meal, and reproduce.
2. Mosquitoes don’t just make you itch. Even in the United States where mosquito-related deaths are relatively few, mosquitoes can carry deadly diseases like West Nile and Encephalitis. In total, mosquitoes transmit 28 diseases and kill more people each year worldwide than any other single factor, including heart disease, cancer, AIDS & car accidents. In other words, mosquitoes aren’t just a nuisance.
3. Kids are more susceptible. Most mosquito-related deaths are children. Little bodies just aren’t equipped to fight the diseases mosquitoes carry. In severe cases, it is less than 48 hours from the appearance of the first symptom before serious complications or even Mosquito-borne diseases present with common symptoms like fever, nausea and vomiting, making them difficult to detect. You should contact your doctor immediately if your child has been bitten by a mosquito and shows any of the following symptoms:
– sudden high fever,
– severe headache,
– stiff neck,
– muscle jerks, tremors, seizure,
– rash or hives, and/or
– nausea or vomiting.
4. It only takes ONE bite. While your risk of contracting a mosquito-borne disease increases with the number of bites, it only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to get sick. That’s why prevention and protection are so important. This leads us to our next point…
5. There IS something you can do! A few very easy steps can drastically reduce the risk of getting bitten at home. Just remember to drain, dress and defend.
Drain – Remove standing water from around your home. It only takes a bottle cap’s worth of standing water to cause a mosquito problem. Common culprits should be monitored regularly for standing water:
– clogged rain gutters,
– corrugated drain pipes,
– bird baths,
– pet bowls,
– trash & recycling bins,
– plant pots, and
– children’s toys.
Dress – When practical, wear long pants and long sleeves. Loose-fitting, light-colored clothing is best. Studies have shown that some mosquitoes are more attracted to dark clothing and can most readily bite through tight-fitting, loose-weave clothing.
Defend – Use repellent! The EPA has registered repellents that have been reviewed and approved to pose minimal risk when used properly:
– DEET (N, N-diethyl-m- toluadmide)
– Picaridin (KBR 3023)
– Oil of lemon eucalyptus (p-methan 3.8-diol, or PMD)
Professional Mosquito Control – While nothing can eliminate the threat entirely, when performed properly by trained professionals, back yard mosquito treatments can help to reduce the danger and risk posed by disease-carrying mosquitoes.