May 14, 2018
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that the number of Americans infected by mosquito and tick bites has nearly tripled in recent years.
The New York Times notes that “tick-borne diseases like Lyme and Rocky Mountain spotted fever have been increasing in the Northeast, Upper Midwest and California, and mosquitoes may be carrying West Nile virus and, in some parts of the United States, Zika.” Although there aren’t vaccines to prevent these infections, there are many ways we can protect ourselves this summer.
There’s a misconception that these disease-carrying bugs only strike in woody, grassy areas, and therefore only hikers and campers should be weary. While it's true that ticks are most often found in tall grasses and attach themselves to humans who pass by, mosquitos can reach your backyard just as easily.
Here are some tips to ensure everyone can have a safe and healthy summer:
Cover up with long sleeves and pants, even if it’s hot out.
Tuck your pants into your socks to protect your ankles. Closed-toe shoes and socks help tremendously because ticks are typically found on low ground.
You can purchase insecticide-infused clothing to keep both mosquitoes and ticks away.
After hiking, shower and scan your body carefully for ticks. Parents, be sure to check your kids and your dogs.
If a tick is found embedded in your skin, don’t fear, the tick can easily be removed with tweezers. Find detailed instructions here.
Protect your outdoor spaces by removing empty flower pots or bird baths that can attract mosquitos.
Simple maintenance like checking window screens and keeping grass cut can also help.