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Don’t Let the Mosquitos Bite

Photo courtesy f dr_relling/Flickr.Yesterday evening I was sitting out on my porch watching my kids play when I was dive-bombed by a mosquito. I was caught off guard and nearly fell out of my chair trying to swat it. I’m here to inform you that the mosquitos are here, and they are hungry. Here are a few tips I got from the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) to help you combat those pesky little blood suckers.

Using an insect repellent on exposed skin is a great way to keep those mosquitos away. You want to use  an EPA-registered repellents, which include products containing DEET (N,N-diethylmetatoluamide) and picaridin (KBR 3023). DEET concentrations of 30 to 50 percent will keep you protected for several hours. You will need to apply picaridin more frequently, as it is only available in concentrations of 7 to 15 percent.

It is recommended that adults and children older than 2 months use DEET formulations as high as 50 percent. You can protect infants younger than 2 months of age by using a carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit.

It is important to always apply sunscreen first, then repellent. Be sure to always wash repellent off of your body at the end of the day before going to bed.

Wearing long-sleeved shirts (which should be tucked in), long pants and hats to cover exposed skin is also a great tip, but not always doable in the summer months.

For greater protection, apply permethrin-containing solutions (e.g., Permanone) or other insect repellents to clothing, shoes, tents, mosquito nets and other gear. Do not use permethrin directly on skin! Permethrin-treated clothing is effective for up to five washings, but most other repellents generally are removed from clothing and gear with a single washing. Be aware that mosquitoes are most active during twilight periods (dawn and dusk).

If at all possible, stay in air-conditioned or well-screened housing. If you are out camping, be sure to sleep under an insecticide-treated bed net. Bed nets should be tucked under mattresses/bedrolls and can be sprayed with a repellent if not already treated with an insecticide.

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of The University of Montana, animal lover and writer.

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