Happy World Mosquito Day. Yes, even the pesky mosquito gets a day in the sun. But not for the best of reasons.
World Mosquito Day, which is August 20, was established in 1897, when the link between mosquitoes and malaria transmission was discovered by Sir Ronald Ross. The intent was to raise awareness about malaria and how it can be prevented, as well as raise money to help find a cure.
These days, it serves as an opportunity to remind people that the mosquito’s bite can produce far more than just an itch. While Zika is in the spotlight right now, mosquitoes also carry a host of other diseases that can cause serious health issues.
The most common diseases that could potentially be carried by mosquitoes in South Carolina, home to at least 61 different species, include: West Nile, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis virus, and dog/cat heartworm.
But you’re not totally at the mosquitoes’ mercy. There are ways to protect yourself.
- Reduce the numbers of adult mosquitoes around your home.
- Drain, fill or eliminate sites that have standing water.
- Empty or throw away containers — from bottles and jars to tires and kiddie pools — that have standing water.
- Keep mosquitoes outside: Use air conditioning or make sure that you repair and use window/door screens.
- Avoid Mosquitoes: Most mosquito species bite during dawn, dusk, twilight hours and night. Some species bite during the day, especially in wooded or other shaded areas. Avoid exposure during these times and in these areas.
- Wear insect repellent: When used as directed, insect repellent is the BEST way to protect yourself from mosquito bites—even children and pregnant women should protect themselves. Choose a repellent that contain one of the following:
- DEET: Products containing DEET include Cutter, OFF!, Skintastic.
- Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin): Products containing picaridin include Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus, and Autan outside the United States).
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD: Repel contains OLE.
- IR3535: Products containing IR3535 include Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition and SkinSmart.
- More repellent information
- Cover up: When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.
So, slap on the repellent, empty or get rid of containers in your yard holding water and, above all, enjoy World Mosquito Day in the best way possible — by avoiding mosquito bites.
Click here to learn more about protecting yourself and your home from mosquitoes.
For more information on Zika, visit cdc.gov/zika or scdhec.gov/zika.