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June 15, 2019

6/8/2019 7:30:00 AM
10 ways to fight the bite from mosquitoes

As hot summer days turn into warm summer evenings; many people enjoy sitting outside.

But it takes just a few minutes before a high-pitched buzz is heard and a burning itch is felt. Mosquitoes. But mosquitoes are just one summertime pest. Ticks are another.

"Each year the risk of getting bacterial or viral infections from tick and mosquito bites seems to increase," Rick Brodhead, MD, medical director of emergency services at Howard Young Medical Center, part of Ascension, said in a press release. "The best way to prevent infection is to avoid getting bit."

As the summer season heats up, Ascension and the Vilas County Health Department want to help residents and Northwoods visitors to "Fight the Bite."

Here are 10 ways people can "Fight the Bite" and be protected.

• Wear pants and long sleeves to minimize areas of exposed skin.

• Wear light-colored clothing to see crawling ticks easier. Light colors, which do not absorb as much heat, may also be less attractive to mosquitoes.

• Use Picaridin or a 30 percent DEET repellent. Spray clothes, boots and socks. Avoid spraying the face and the palms of hands. If hiking or camping, don't forget to spray backpacks and tents.

• Treat clothes with permethrin. This repellent is effective for both mosquitoes and ticks. When applied correctly, permethrin may last through more than five washings. Treat clothes and let them dry before wearing. Use caution during treatment. When liquid or wet, permethrin can be toxic to small animals.

• When outside, avoid areas with long grass. Stay on trails if possible.

• After being outside, shower and carefully check for ticks. Blacklegged ticks are very small and easy to miss.

• Make yourself less attractive to mosquitoes. Don't use sweet-smelling soaps or sprays. Mosquitoes are attracted by sweet scents, especially banana.

• Stay inside during the evening hours when mosquitoes are most active.

• Burn a mosquito-repellant torch or candle when you're outside.

• Remove all standing water in the yard which may be home to mosquito larvae.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Health, Division of Health Services, mosquitoes in the Midwest can transmit arboviral infections such as the West Nile Virus and various strains of encephalitis. They can also infect animals with equine encephalitis and canine heartworm.

"Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, even in small containers," Dr. Brodhead said. "Walk around the outside of your home at least once a week and empty any water that's collected in toys, pet food and water bowls, birdbaths, buckets, and other objects."

Check under bushes and other hard-to-see places. Get rid of old tires and other objects that can collect water. Check for and repair holes in window and door screens.

These are all simple ways to fight the bite. For more information, visit

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