Mosquitoes and Ticks: Are You Protecting Yourself?

It is that time of year again when poolside cookouts, family hikes and baseball games will be hitting the calendar. As you prepare to protect your skin from the summer sun, what are you doing to fight off the bugs? Mosquitoes are more than just a nuisance or frustrating itch. Summer insects such as mosquitoes and ticks can carry serious diseases.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, “health officials are warning that the number of Americans infected by mosquito, tick and flea bites has more than tripled in recent years.” Tick-borne diseases include Lyme and Rocky Mountain spotted fever and mosquitoes can carry West Nile virus and Zika. Since there is no vaccine or medicine to take to prevent these illnesses, it all comes down to what you can do to keep yourself from getting bitten.

Ways To Protect Your Skin from Insect Bites

The New York Times article lists several steps you can take to prevent a mosquito or tick bite while spending time outdoors. These are easy and affordable ways you can keep your entire family safe, despite what your summer agenda may be.

Cover Up

Wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants will not only protect your skin from harmful UV rays, but it also prevent insects from latching onto your bare skin. If you are going on a hike, consider tucking your pants into your socks to prevent easy access for bugs. Wearing a bandana or hat is also a good idea.

Spray Yourself

A good insect repellant spray should be valued just as much as your sunscreen this summer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency recommend using mosquito repellents that have as their active ingredient either DEET; picaridin; IR3535; oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD); or 2-undecanone. If you are wearing shoes, go ahead and spray your shoes well, as many insects travel from the ground up. If using sunscreen along with bug spray, apply the sunscreen first. Avoid using insect repellant spray on young infants and around the eyes and mouth of children.

Mosquito-Proof Your Yard

While it may be impossible to keep every mosquito out of your yard this summer, there are things you can do to create a less welcoming environment. First, empty any flower pots, baby pools or other containers that are holding water – mosquitoes love to breed in cool, fresh water. Next, check your porch screens to ensure they are completely intact. It is also a great idea to have an electronic fan going, the breeze disperses the human scent and makes it harder for the insects to fly. Finally, you can consider a professional mosquito treatment from a landscaping company.

At Olansky Dermatology Associates, we want to help Atlanta area families stay safe in the outdoors this summer. We welcome the opportunity to give you tips and educate you on way you can protect your skin from the sun as well as disease-ridden mosquitoes and ticks. Remember that your skin is the largest organ in your body – protecting it means you are keeping yourself healthy and strong!

If you are concerned about an insect bite or want to learn the best insect repellant spray for your specific skin, please contact our Buckhead office today!

Posted on behalf of Olansky Dermatology & Aesthetics