Tips to Avoid Mosquito Bites this Summer

FALLS CHURCH, Va. -- The American Mosquito Control Association reports that over one million people worldwide die from mosquito-borne diseases every year. This summer, TRICARE wants to help you avoid their bites, which are not only irritating, but can also carry diseases that make both people and pets very ill.

Mosquito bites can cause severe skin irritation because of an allergic reaction to the mosquito's saliva. This is what causes the red bump and itching. But that’s not all. There are several well-known diseases transmitted by mosquito bites: 

  • Malaria
  • Dengue
  • Dog Heartworm
  • Easter Equine Encephalitis 
  • West Nile Virus
  • Zika Virus

This is a shortened list as there are numerous others. You can protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites by taking a few simple precautions. 

First, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants clothing when the weather permits. Wear light colored, loose fitting clothing. Studies have shown that some of the 174 mosquito species in the United States are more attracted to dark clothing and most can readily bite through tight-fitting clothing.

Next, you should wear insect repellent. There are many different kinds of insect repellent, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends products that have at least one of the following active ingredients; DEET, Picaridin, IR 3535, or Oil of lemon eucalyptus. Choose the lowest concentration of DEET that will provide the coverage you need and be sure you read the labels to find out how much product is in the repellent. 

Get rid of any standing water around your house--mosquitoes lay their eggs near water and they don’t need a lot. Check and empty children’s toys, clear roof gutters of debris, avoid water collecting on pool covers and repair leaky outdoor faucets. Be sure to clean pet dishes and bird baths regularly. For more information, visit the Mosquito-Borne Illnesses page on the Military Health System website. 

If you have travelled internationally recently, and develop a fever, headache, rash, muscle or joint pain, visit your healthcare provider immediately and tell them about your travel. To find a provider near you, visit the TRICARE website.

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