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July 7, 2013
Everyone loves to hate mosquitoes. They seem to be everywhere this summer and leave behind bites that itch like crazy. Even worse, mosquitoes can transmit the West Nile Virus from birds to people.
While many people assume mosquitoes are attracted to the aroma of blood, in fact, they are drawn to the carbon dioxide that we exhale. Therefore, the harder you breathe, the more attractive you are to mosquitoes. You are also more attractive to mosquitoes when you’ve been drinking alcohol. People with smelly feet and women who are pregnant are also at great risk of mosquito bites.
To prevent mosquito infestations in your yard, we recommend removing any source of standing, stagnant water such as in gutters, bird baths, and even trash cans. Professional mosquito treatments can help keep the mosquitoes at bay, and enable you to enjoy more time outdoors.
The best personal precaution against mosquitoes is to use a mosquito repellant. DEET is a popular repellent ingredient that has been proven to be effective. It is approved for people of all ages, although for children the EPA recommends using only products with certain percentages of DEET.
When shopping for a mosquito repellant, make sure to look for the EPA registration number on the package. Registered repellants have been fully reviewed for safety and efficacy. Repellants with natural active ingredients like peppermint oil, citronella, and cedar oil are not registered by the EPA. Unfortunately, this means their effectiveness is untested. Find more information and search for registered insect repellents on the EPA website.
Even if you take all the precautions, no repellant is 100% effective, which means you still may suffer bites. If you do get bitten, don’t scratch! Instead, apply a hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion or even a homemade paste of equal parts water and dry meat tenderizer. You may apply this several times a day until the itching fades. If a cream is not effective, try holding an ice pack to the affected area for a few minutes to reduce inflammation and itching.