Mosquito Fast Facts

Mosquito Fast Facts

Mosquitoes bite infants and children more than any other insect.

Mosquitoes can transmit dangerous blood-borne illnesses including West Nile Virus, malaria, encephalitis and many other diseases.

Only female mosquitoes bite. They need a blood meal to acquire the protein they need to produce eggs.

The irritation from a mosquito bite comes from a reaction to the saliva, which includes digestive enzymes and anticoagulants.

Sensitivity to mosquito bites varies greatly. Some kids become less sensitive to the bite with age; others become increasingly allergic.

Taking a non-sedating antihistamine such as Claritin (loratadine) or Zyrtec can help lessen the effect of a bite if taken beforehand or lessen the severity of the reaction if taken after a bite.

The most effective bug repellent compounds contain DEET, picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus. Consumer Reports created a top five list in 2014 of the most effective insect repellents, which were shown to prevent bites from ticks and at least two types of mosquitoes for at least seven to eight hours.

The maximum concentration of DEET recommended for infants and children is 30 percent. DEET products should not be used on children under 2 months of age.

Repellent should be applied over the clothes, and avoid using it on the parts of the hands that might come in contact with your eyes or mouth.

Mosquitoes care what you wear. Avoid bright, floral colors in clothing as well as fragrances in soaps, shampoos and lotions.

Mosquitoes tend to bite between dusk and dawn, and they tend to hang out near water. When it’s hot and humid, expect more pests.

Females lay their eggs in standing water, so be aware of potential breeding areas such as:

  • Bird baths
  • Outdoor pet dishes
  • Flower pot saucers
  • Ponds
  • Gutters
  • Wheelbarrows and buckets
  • Wading pools and swimming pools
  • Trashcans, recycling bins and trash lids
  • Puddles and ditches in your yard or driveway

 

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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