Helpful Tips on Preventing and Treating Mosquito Bites
There are so many beautiful outdoor spaces to enjoy in southern Maryland. With extended hours outside comes the possibility of coming in contact with a mosquito or two. Getting a bite from a mosquito can be an irritating experience and in rare cases may be a source of a shared illness the mosquito could be carrying.
Here are some tips to prevent and avoid mosquito bites here in southern Maryland:
Helpful mosquito bite prevention measures
Have a reliable insect repellent
Having a good quality insect repellent used as directed is a proven safe and effective means of preventing mosquitoes from biting. Using insect repellent is even safe for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding according to the EPA and the CDC. It is best to use a repellent that is EPA registered that has DEET, Picaridin, IR 3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or OLE, para-menthane-diol or PMD, or 2-undecanone as its main effective ingredient.
Cover up with helpful protective clothing
In areas or at times of the day when you know mosquitoes will be present it is a good idea to use the proper clothing to help cover up your skin. This should be used in conjunction with insect repellent. Proper cover-up clothing includes wearing long sleeve shirts and long pants.
Take measures to keep mosquitoes outdoors
The use of air conditioning and window and door screens are very helpful to keep mosquitoes out of your home and to keep you comfortable inside your favorite space. If you are unable to take these measures you can also use a mosquito net to sleep under at night.
Related: How to keep pests out of your house
Make your yard less desirable to mosquitoes
There are some spaces that draw mosquitoes in to hang out and even breed. You can take some measures to make your yard less appealing to mosquitoes by getting rid of any standing water including in flower pots, tires, buckets, toys, kid-sized pools, and even around garbage cans. You can also regularly clean out anything that may have water like a birdbath or a landscape water feature. If you have a backyard pond you can consider inserting mosquito fish that will eat mosquito larva. It is also a good idea to look for any drainage issues in your yard and get them fixed to avoid standing water.
Plants such as lemon balm, mint, chrysanthemums, marigolds, basil, garlic, eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary, and lemongrass produce smells and oils that mosquitoes do not like. It is a good idea to plant a few of these around your yard to keep mosquitoes away.
The use of a fan in an area where people hang out such as the patio or deck will also deter mosquitoes from flocking there as they like warm moist places. It is also a good idea to use candles with scents that mosquitoes do not love such as from the plants listed above.
Treating mosquito bites
In most cases when someone is bitten by a mosquito they get that irritating red itchy bump on their skin. To try and control itching use an over-the-counter anti-itch cream with at least 1% hydrocortisone or a calamine lotion. Spot treat any areas with this lotion after washing the bite as soon as you notice it. Alternatively you can also create a paste using baking soda and water and apply it straight to a freshly washed bite to minimize itching. This paste can be left on for about 10 minutes. It can also be helpful to apply ice packs to take down redness, swelling, and itching of a mosquito bite.
If you have several bites it is a good idea to take an oral antihistamine such as Benadryl, Claritin, or Zyrtec.
In some rare cases, a person may need to seek medical attention with a mosquito bite as it could present a severe allergic reaction or even be the presence of an illness that the mosquito may have been carrying. If there is a mosquito bite with crusty and weeping wounds that have pus this should be looked at by a medical professional. It is also a good idea to seek medical attention if you develop a fever, hives, or swollen lymph nodes.
With the right mosquito knowledge and these helpful preventive measures, you can enjoy a more comfortable summer outdoors in southern Maryland.
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