Posts Tagged ‘mosquitoes’

Protect yourself from mosquitoes

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Zika - bug sprayThe most common way for Zika to spread is through the bite of an infected mosquito. So the best way to protect yourself is to avoid mosquito bites. While Zika is currently not being transmitted in the US, it’s still a good idea to know how to keep you and your family safe.

Use insect repellant

The best way to protect yourself against mosquito bites is to use insect repellant. Here are a few things to look for when choosing a spray or lotion:

  • Use one that is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). All EPA-registered bug sprays and lotions are checked to make sure they’re safe and effective.
  • Use products that contain:
    • DEET
    • picaridin
    • oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • Most repellants are safe to use on babies 2 months and older, but check with your baby’s health care provider.  Do not use oil of lemon eucalyptus on children 3 years or younger.
  • Do not wear insect repellant under clothes.
  • Put on sunscreen first before any bug spray.

If you’ve been in a Zika-affected area, use insect repellant for 3 weeks after you return, even if you do not feel sick. This will help to prevent Zika from spreading to others.

Wear the right clothing

  • Wear a hat, a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, shoes and socks. Ankles and necks are especially vulnerable to mosquito bites so make sure they are protected.
  • If hiking or camping, wear permethrin-treated clothes. Do not use permethrin on skin.
  • If you are pregnant or trying to conceive and you work outside, talk to your employer about working inside. If that’s not possible, make sure your clothes protect and cover your skin.

Keep your environment safe

  • Take steps to keep mosquitoes outside and to prevent them from breeding.
  • Remove any standing water.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning.
  • Make sure that screens on doors or windows are intact and do not have any holes.
  • Use mosquito netting across the top of your baby’s stroller or crib to help keep your baby safe from mosquitoes. Keep the netting out of reach of your baby and make sure it doesn’t touch your baby’s face or body.

Learn more about Zika on our website. Questions? Email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

 

Zika and pregnancy – 3 quick facts

Monday, June 20th, 2016

Zika pregnancy infographic MOD

Be sure to check out our article for everythying you need to know about the Zika virus and pregnancy. Learn what it is, how it spreads, signs and symptoms, how to avoid it, how it affects pregnant women and babies, and what you can do to be safe.

Questions? Text or email AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Sunscreen and bug spray

Friday, June 24th, 2011

sunscreenThis week it is officially summer! We’re all outside playin’ in the grass, splashin’ in the pool. We know it’s very important to slather on the sunscreen to keep ourselves and little ones from turning red as a beet. And if you live where the mosquitos hang out, you want to spray on bug repellant to keep those B52 biters at bay.

There are a couple of products that combine bug repellant with sunscreen. Sounds great, right? Wrong. The problem with a combination product is the real possibility of toxic exposure, overdosing on the bug repellant. We have learned from research that for maximum benefit it’s important to reapply sunblock every two hours. If you use a combination product, you’ll be reapplying the bug repellant chemicals as well – not good.

So, to be on the safe side, keep these products separate, or use the combination product once, and then apply sunblock only every two hours afterward. If you’re worried about the chemicals in bug repellant, here’s an alternative. Soybean oil based repellents are healthier for you and tests have found them to be as effective as a 15% concentration of DEET, lasting for 4 to 8 hours.

Tick season’s around the corner

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

tickWith the return of warm weather comes the proliferation of bugs, gnats, mosquitoes and ticks. Regardless of how you feel about these little pests, it’s important to remember that, as small as they are, they can pack a punch with some powerful diseases.

You’ve heard of Lyme disease and, perhaps, of erlichiosis. Did you know that there is another tick-borne illness called babesiosis?  People who have had their spleen removed are particularly susceptible to a severe case. Aside from a tick bite, babesiosis can be transmitted through a blood transfusion and an infected mother can pass the disease to her baby during pregnancy or delivery. It can be a very serious illness to people with compromised immune systems.

As with other tick-borne illnesses, symptoms vary. Many people feel fine, some people develop flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, sweats, headache, body aches, loss of appetite, nausea, or fatigue. There is no distinct bulls-eye rash like in Lyme disease. If you come down with flu-like symptoms, be sure to let your health care provider know.

Don’t panic – there’s no need to lock yourself indoors until it snows again. But there are steps you can take, products you can use to help protect you and your kids while romping in the yard. Pregnant women may be concerned about the safety of insect repellants during pregnancy. The insect repellant DEET (diethyltoluamide) is among the most effective at keeping insects, such as mosquitoes and ticks, from biting. Preventing insect bites is important during pregnancy because mosquito- and tick-borne infections, such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease, erlichiosis and babesiosis may be harmful in pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend any special precautions for pregnant women using DEET-containing products, when used as directed on the product label. You can minimize your need for DEET by staying indoors during dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most likely to bite. You also can wear long pants and long sleeves. Remember, ticks are tiny, so check yourself and your children carefullly when you come indoors.

If you’re thinking of using pesticides around your property, be sure to read our information, including safety precautions.

Natural ways to keep bugs at bay

Friday, June 12th, 2009

mosquito-pestsLet’s have a B-B-Q, play ball, toss a Frisbee, read in a hammock, draw on the sidewalk with chalk, blow bubbles and just enjoy being outside.  Got bugs? Plant a defense.

Once you have gotten rid of any sources of standing water in your yard that attract mosquitoes (bird baths, tire swings, watering cans), consider adding some garden plants that are natural repellents.  Put them in pots on your deck or patio or along a sidewalk.  While you’ll enjoy the way they look or the tasty treats some provide, mosquitoes may become annoyed and decide to move out.  Scented geraniums, lemon thyme, marigolds, pennyroyal, citrosa, sweet basil, rosemary, mint (make sure you keep it in a container or it will take over your yard) and sassafras all have some degree of built-in repellents that drive bugs away.  But, the repellent factor works much better when the leaves are crushed rather than sitting still, so rubbing a leaf between your fingers occasionally while you’re sipping your iced tea can give this property a boost.

So what’s good to put directly on you and the kids?  While it is a very effective chemical, we have written before about the safety issues related to products containig DEET.  Soybean oil based repellents are healthier for you and tests have found them to be as effective as a 15% concentration of DEET, lasting for 4 to 8 hours.

Bug spray

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Yippie, the weather is gorgeous and we can all go outside again!  While you’re thinking this, so are the mosquitoes and other irritating critters.  So, how much bug spray, if any, should  you use on your little tike?

Most of us have heard that DEET works best at keeping bugs at bay.  However, according to the FDA, we should not use products with permethrin or DEET in them on children less than 2 months old. There are some safe products that don’t have DEET and contain citronella, so look around.  Unfortunately, they are not as effective as products containing DEET and need to be reapplied periodically.  Products with oil of eucalyptus in them should not be used on children under three years old.   With any of these products, do not use it on sunburned skin, cuts, rashes, or other skin conditions, avoid the area around the eyes and forget the hands (they’ll be in the mouth most of the time).    If you use bug spray on your clothes, wash them before wearing them again.

Some sunscreens have DEET mixed in – they’re 2-for-1 products.  They’re great for short-term activity, but for long-term outdoor exposures, you won’t want to reapply them because the repeated application may increase the risk of toxic exposure.  Add a sunscreen by itself later.

There are other things you can do, besides using bug spray, to help keep those nippy bugs away.  Put long-sleeved shirts and long pants on the kids.  There are some great lightweight clothes in the stores these days.  Be sure to keep something on their feet so the mosquitoes don’t bite and the bees don’t sting.  If you’re little one has a baldy bean, don’t forget a hat.  Avoid using scented lotions that can attract unwanted attention.  Shake out the tire swing so there is no standing water in it where mosquitoes can breed.  Keep the kid’s wading pool empty and on it’s side when not in use.

Once everyone is tuckered out and ready for a nap, wash away all applied products with soap and water.  And, depending on where you live, don’t forget to check for ticks!