Mosquito Season is Here

The Tennessee Department of Health is reminding consumers about the importance of protection from mosquitoes.. Photo credit: Filiford/morguefile.com

Spring is here and that means many people are getting more active outdoors. It’s also the time when mosquitoes become active in Tennessee. The Tennessee Department of Health urges Tennesseans to take preventive steps to avoid mosquito-borne diseases like Zika virus, West Nile virus and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Avoid mosquito bites:
• Use insect repellents such as DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 on your skin, following all label recommendations for use. Pay particular attention to recommendations for use on children, and never apply any of these products around the mouth or eyes at any age. Consult your health care provider if you have questions.
• Reduce mosquito populations around your home. Mosquitoes can breed in any place that holds water, including clogged drains or gutters, watering cans and empty bottles.
• Use products containing permethrin, a highly effective insecticide, for clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear. Permethrin-treated clothing repels and kills ticks, mosquitoes and other pests and retains this effect after repeated laundering. Some products are available pretreated with permethrin. As a caution, however, it is not to be used directly on skin.
• Wear ‘long, loose and light’ clothing to help prevent bites through fabric. It’s best to wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Tuck your pants into your socks and your shirt into your pants. Light-colored clothes are less attractive to many insects and may allow you to spot them more easily.
For most people a mosquito bite will only cause an itchy spot on the skin or possibly mild, flu-like symptoms, but some of us can have a serious illness with major consequences like severe pain, long-term or permanent nerve or brain damage and even death. You just can’t tell, and there are not vaccines or cures for some of these illnesses, so we all have to be careful and aware.