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Protect Yourself and Others From Mosquitoes

By Kevin Watler, Public Information Officer

May 13, 2020

Hillsborough, Fla. – Living in Florida, mosquitoes are seemingly part of our everyday life. However, mosquitoes not only make you itch, but can carry diseases like Zika and West Nile virus. Not all mosquitoes are the same.

Different mosquitoes spread different diseases and are more likely to bite at certain times of the day. Some mosquito species bite during the day, such as those mosquitoes that can spread chikungunya, dengue and Zika viruses. Other species of mosquitoes bite most often at dawn and dusk, including those that can transmit West Nile virus.

To help prevent infection and to reduce the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, it is important for children and parents to practice basic mosquito bite prevention: cover skin with long clothing and repellant and spill! sources of standing water. Fewer mosquito bites reduces everyone’s risk for illness and a smaller mosquito population means fewer bites.

Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one teaspoon or a bottle cap of water. Kids can help in the fight against mosquitoes when they Spill the Water! around their home and neighborhood. Read more tips below.

Stop Mosquitoes From Breeding

• Females breed by laying eggs in standing water, so at least once a week, empty, turn over or cover things that can hold water, such as toys, tires, buckets, birdbaths, car or boat covers, gutters, trash containers, etc.
• Store outside items in a covered area if they can hold standing water.
• Keep flower pots and saucers free of standing water and flush out water-retaining plants like bromeliads with a hose once a week.

Keep Mosquitoes Outside

• Make sure all your windows have screens and immediately repair any hole in your screens.
• Keep doors and windows shut and use air conditioning whenever possible.

Use EPA-Approved Insect Repellents

• Wear insect repellent when outdoors. Keep Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents ready to use at home and in your car. Always follow the product’s instructions.
• Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, and IR3535 are effective.
• Don’t use repellant on babies younger than two months.
• Spray the repellent on your hands and then apply to your child’s face. Avoid their eyes, nose, mouth and hands, and avoid cuts or irritated skin.
• Dress babies and toddlers in clothing that covers arms and legs, and cover strollers, cribs or baby carriers with mosquito netting.
• Don’t spray repellant on skin that will be covered by clothing.
• Repellant is applied after sunscreen.

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About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health, please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.