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Mosquitoes & Ticks

How do ticks affect my family and me?

A profile on ticks and the impact they can have on our health and what you can do to protect your family

Summer and fall, for many, are the best times to spend with family and friends. Moreover, being outside means connecting with nature, plenty of fresh air, and lots of fun. Some outdoor activities does expose you to certain risks—and ticks bites are one of them. There are ways to avoid tick bites that can potentially cause disease. Remember, just because you get bit doesn’t mean you will get sick. However, it is always a good idea to educate yourself and your family on ways to avoid tick bites.

Most Americans have at least some familiarity with ticks—perhaps the most common association of the parasite is that it transmits: Lyme disease. Other common diseases ticks transmit to humans are Lyme disease, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Symptoms vary widely but can cause serious short and long-term harm.

Prevalence or existence of diseases varies by geographic areas. It can be helpful to know which ticks are in your area to better protect yourself and your family by using this resource from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

You may like to garden, hike, bike, or have a barbecue with friends, but no one likes being sick. There are ways to do the things you love while preventing tick bites. Keep reading for the best ways to keep ticks away so that you and your family can play!

Protecting yourself

Ticks like to live in brushy, grassy areas with high grass so if you know you are going be spending time in that type of environment make sure to take precautions. [1]

Using personal insect repellent:

  • Consider using a product with active ingredients like DEET and Picaridin that lists ticks on its label. In fact, the Centers for Disease and Prevention recommend products that contain 20[2] percent or more DEET or Picaridin. These products affect the scent receptors in ticks which makes it hard for them to recognize and bite you.
  • Always read the label for proper use instructions.
  • Only apply personal insect repellents to exposed skin and not under clothing.
  • If using sunscreen as well, apply sunscreen first then apply personal insect repellent.
  • When using personal insect repellent on the face, apply to hands first then on face.
  • Do NOT allow children to handle personal insect repellents. To apply it to children, spray or apply the cream to your own hands first, then apply it to the child.

Take some time to decide what product is right for you and your family. Your decision might change if you’re an adult or if you plan on using on a child. The right product might also differ if you’re gardening, hiking, relaxing, or exercising, or lastly if you need 2-hour protection or 8.

Taking additional safety precautions:

 

  • Wear light-colored, long sleeves and long pants while in areas with ticks
  • Stay on trails and avoid walking through high grass
  • Consider tucking your shirt in and tucking pants into socks. You could also wear a hat.

Coming home

After you come home from the outdoors, make sure to perform tick checks. Ticks like to hide on clothing, pets, gear, and you. Carefully examine your pets and clothing for ticks and give yourself and any children a thorough tick check. If possible, take a bath or shower within two hours of being outdoors. Bathing will help to wash off any ticks that may have crawled on you.
Ticks like warm places so here are common locations they hide: 

https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/prev/on_people.html

Tick removal

If you find a tick don’t panic, make sure to remove it properly as soon as you find it but avoid home remedies that make the tick detach on its own. Immediate and safe removal is most important. Click HERE for the CDCs recommendation on proper tick removal.

If a tick bites you, check out the CDCs symptoms of tickborne illness to keep an eye out for possible symptoms. Spending time outdoors is the best part of summer but stay safe by taking the proper precautions to avoid tick-borne diseases.

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[1] https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/prev/on_people.html

[2] U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. May 2, 2018. Preventing Tick Bites. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/avoid/on_people.html

 


A Little Bug With a Huge Impact

Observing World Mosquito Day 2018 by learning the history of the insect as well as tips to prevent diseases they may carry.

 

What is World Mosquito Day?

Since 1897, World Mosquito Day has been celebrated on August 20th to commemorate Sir Ronald Ross’ discovery that female mosquitoes transmit malaria to humans.[i] He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1902. His work has become the foundation for research in mosquito-borne diseases. Today, World Mosquito Day is used to raise awareness about illnesses such as malaria, Zika, dengue, West Nile virus, and many more. Malaria being the most serious, infecting an 216 million and causing 445,000 deaths each year according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)[ii].

In the U.S. however, diseases such as Zika and West Nile have more of an impact. In 2017, there were 452 reported cases of the Zika virus and 5, 168 reported cases in 2016.[iii] In 2017, there were 2,002 reported cases of West Nile in the U.S, in 47 states and the District of Columbia. The best way to the reduce risk of diease is by preventing the bite, but first, let’s learn a bit about Mosquitoe’s long history.

 

History of Mosquito Research 

Cases of malaria have been documented since 2700 BC[iv], but it was not until 1880 when Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran, a French army surgeon, noticed parasites in the blood of malaria patients[v]. This discovery set the stage for major advancements to be taken in the diagnosis and treatment of malaria. In 1934, Hans Andersag discovered an antimalarial medicine, Resochin.

Currently mosquitoes are the deadliest animal, causing 750,000 deaths globally in 2018 according to the World Health Organization. In 2017, there were 2,002 cases of West Nile virus in the US and as of July 2018, there were 2,474 cases of Zika reported in the U.S. Mosquitoes thrive in warmer climates and populations expand as temperatures increase—this may be in February if you live in Florida, or April if you live in New York.

 

Keeping You and Your Family Safe

The best way to prevent mosquito-borne diseases is to prevent mosquito bites before they happen. Check out the ways in which you can protect you and your family from pesky and potentially dangerous bites:  

Using personal insect repellent:

  • Consider using a product with active ingredients like DEET and Picaridin. These products effect the receptors in mosquitoes which makes it hard for them to recognize where to land and bite you.
  • Always read the label for proper use instructions.
  • Only apply personal insect repellants to exposed skin and not under clothing.
  • If using sunscreen as well, apply sunscreen first then apply personal insect repellant.
  • When using personal insect repellant on the face, apply to hands first then on face.
  • Do NOT allow children to handle personal insect repellents. To apply it to children, spray or apply the cream to your own hands first, then apply it to the child.

Take some time to decide what product is right for you and your family. Your decision might change if you’re going to be outside for an extended amount of time or if you plan on using it on a child. The right product might also differ if you’re planning to do some gardening, hiking, relaxing, or exercising. It can also differ if you need 2-hour protection or 8-hour protection.

Taking additional safety precautions:

  • Wear light-colored, long sleeves and long pants while in mosquito dense areas
  • Consider tucking your shirt in and tucking pants into socks. You could also wear a hat.
  • Keep mosquitoes outside by using screens in your windows and doors and using air conditioning rather than opening windows.
  • If you can’t close your sleeping area to the outdoors, consider using a bed net.

Protecting your home:

  • Remove standing water around your home to prevent mosquitoes from reproducing. Standing water can collect in gutters, old tires, bird baths, puddles on roof, leaking pipes or, fountains, etc.
  • Ensure all doors and windows are sealed so mosquitoes cannot enter the home.
  • Secure all screens around the home

Preventing being bitten is the key to avoiding a mosquito-borne illness and ultimately insect repellent is the best first step to preventing the bite. If you do get bitten, don’t freak out! Most of the time a bite is just a bite, but if you are worried contact your doctor for more information.

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[i] https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/about/history/ross.html

[ii] https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/malaria_worldwide/impact.html

[iii] https://www.cdc.gov/zika/reporting/2016-case-counts.html

[iv] https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/about/history/index.html

[v] https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/about/history/laveran.html


Stay Protected this Summer Against Insect Bites

For many individuals and families, summer is the time for beach visits, Fourth of July celebrations, camping trips, bike rides and lots of outdoor activities. The increase in insect populations doesn’t have to spoil your outdoor plans!

What’s caused the increase? According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an increase in warmer weather, increased human travel between continents, and reforestation in certain states and suburbs where deer and rodent populations provide plenty of food for insects, all contributed to the spike in insect populations.

Prevention is key. There are effective methods of protecting yourself from insect bites. The CDC recommends using insect repellent with DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 or Oil of lemon eucalyptus to protect from mosquito bites and using a repellent that contains at least 20 percent DEET, picaridin or IR3535 to prevent tick bites.

ACE has teamed up with SC Johnson to share helpful tips on how to protect you and your family from insect bites by effectively applying personal insect repellent.

  1. Before using a personal insect repellent, always read the product label first to make sure you are using the product that’s right for you and your family.
  2. Be sure to apply personal insect repellents only to exposed skin and clothing and never underneath clothing. If you plan to wear sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and then personal insect repellent over it. 
  3. When using personal insect repellent, avoid contact with the eyes, lips and ears, and never spray or rub the product over cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
  4. To use personal insect repellent on the face, apply to hands first, and then distribute it over the face and neck.
  5. Do not allow children to handle personal insect repellents.

Learn more at http://www.scjohnson.com/en/mosquitoes/default.aspx 

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