GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Mosquitoes already are biting this summer, and with two mosquito-borne cases of Chikungunya now reported in the Triad, health departments are urging families to educate themselves on effective mosquito prevention.
Scott Cole, with the Guilford County Department of Public Health, explained people who are susceptible to mosquito bites are often random. Higher bite frequency has been linked to people with type O positive blood types. Also, people who emit higher levels of respiration (carbon dioxide), like outdoor exercisers, are more inclined to be bitten. High body temperature also can attract mosquitoes.
Contrary to some public criticism, Cole said deet-based repellents are the most studied and most effective in fending off mosquitoes. He recommended adults wear repellents containing 30 percent or less deet and children wear repellent containing 10 percent or less deet. Infants should wear no deet. Deet is most effective when applied in conjunction with clothing treated with permethrin--a synthetic chemical bug repellent.
For individuals who have an allergy to deet or permethrin or whom cannot use traditional repellents, Cole said there are natural repellents. Those include citronella oil, peppermint oil, cedar oil and clove oil. Effectiveness of these repellents is reduced by sunscreen, sweating, swimming, absorption into skin and evaporation.
Cole said eliminating mosquitoes from home environments and yards is a critical component in avoiding bites. He said homeowners must dump out, at least once a week, standing water from outdoor containers--including free-standing pools, bird baths, wheelbarrows and pet bowls.
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