Written by Jason Lewis
The warmer months of the year come with the prevalence of pests like mosquitoes and ticks. Mosquitoes are known for spreading diseases like the West Nile Virus and Malaria. More common in the United States, however, is Lyme disease, which is commonly spread by ticks; as many as 300,000 people a year may suffer from the bacterial infection.
In order to keep you, your family, your home, and your pets safe from the effects of mosquito and tick bites, it’s important to take the necessary steps for prevention. You’ll also need to know how to respond if someone is bitten by one of these pests. Blogger Carmen McKnight shares some quick tips for preventing and handling bites from mosquitoes and ticks.
Prep Your Yard to Prevent Mosquitoes and Ticks
As Garden Design notes, certain plants are natural mosquito deterrents. Lavender and/or marigolds are great options if you want to reduce mosquitoes in your yard without relying on spraying chemicals.
Most ticks make it into the home via the yard. There are several places ticks can hide out in your yard, including dog runs, treehouses and swing sets, and any areas that border the woods or have tall grass. Ideally, you should be regularly mowing the lawn, clearing out brush and doing regular sweeps to remove yard waste to eliminate places for ticks to hide.
However, if it’s a tree that’s causing problems, then you’ll need to enlist the help of a different group of experts. Tree removal specialists can help you get rid of unwanted or dead/dying trees from your yard. Consider using an online service directory like Angi to research tree service pros near you. Not only will you find ratings and reviews on the site, but many companies offer a free estimate. Remember to get at least three quotes; average tree removal prices range from $50 to around $1,500, though these figures can increase depending on the size of the job.
There are also steps you can take to prevent mosquitoes and ticks from being drawn to you. Since 1957, one of the most common and effective solutions for this is applying DEET (N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) — the leading chemical in most insect repellants — to your skin. While there have been concerns over the years about the safety of using DEET over the years, Consumer Reports notes there is little evidence that there are any serious risks involved.
Wear Appropriate Clothes
Along with using insect spray, you can wear certain clothes that help keep mosquitoes and ticks from your skin. For instance, wearing light-colored long-sleeve shirts and pants is perhaps the most practical way to dress if you will be outside for long periods of time. If you want to go a step further, look into permethrin, which is a pesticide you can spray on clothing, shoes and camping gear. Make sure the product you choose is EPA-approved.
Check Family Members and Pets for Ticks
It’s also important that you regularly check your family members for ticks, as they can be small and difficult to spot unless you’re looking for them. American Pest recommends using tweezers or floss to safely remove ticks if you find one. Moreover, be sure to check your pets frequently, looking carefully through their fur, removing them, and saving them for identification if symptoms of illness arise.
Respond Quickly If Someone Is Bitten
It can be difficult to know if you’ve been bitten by a pest — particularly ticks. However, if you notice Lyme disease symptoms such as rash, fever, headaches or muscle and joint aches, you need to seek medical attention immediately. If left unaddressed, the symptoms can quickly become more severe. Likewise, go to the doctor if you’ve been bitten by a mosquito and you experience symptoms like those mentioned above after the bite has healed. Moreover, Mosquito Magnet lists other symptoms that could be signs of a mosquito-borne illness.
It’s important to do whatever is necessary to protect you and your family from mosquitoes and ticks. Think about wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants, and look into permethrin for your clothing and gear. Finally, routinely check everyone in the family (including your pets) for ticks, and immediately visit your doctor if you experience serious symptoms after a mosquito or tick bite.