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Protect Yourself From Mosquitos and West Nile

Throughout the ages, mosquitoes have proven to be one of the most annoying pests. They don’t just make the warm summer seasons difficult to enjoy, but also spread diseases and in some cases death. Although rarely deadly, the West Nile virus is a relative cause for concern and important measures should be taken by the community so that the virus does not thrive and become stronger. This would result in the virus being more difficult to control and eliminate.

The West Nile virus was first made known to the US in 1999, and has since spread to Arizona in 2003. West Nile is a virus that causes flu-like symptoms, and in rare cases can become fatal. The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes to humans, and human to human transferring of the virus is not possible. It’s possible for humans to contract West Nile from dead, infected birds that carry the virus, so don’t touch dead birds for any reason. 

Although the West Nile virus is thought to be an older epidemic, recent outbreaks of the virus have surfaced in various parts of the US (2015). Among these recent West Nile outbreaks are two confirmed cases here in Phoenix. Both residents contracted the virus in late June of this year (2015). Although both residents have made a full recovery after being hospitalized, the Phoenix State Health Department and officials in Maricopa County are advising residents to beware of possible outbreaks, and to avoid contact with mosquitoes. Residents are to aid in the prevention of encouraging breeding grounds for mosquitoes to help combat the spread of the virus.

During these hot summer days, residents can help do their part in preventing the spread of West Nile and mosquito presence by doing a number of things. Removing standing water sources such as portable pools, bird baths or fountains, or other movable water sources that can attract mosquitoes and encourage breeding/nesting is one such method. If you are a resident who lives by ponds, lakes, or other open bodies of water, avoid such areas if possible. If you have to go out in such areas (fishing , etc.) make sure that you wear insect repellent. DEET is a highly recommended repellent that has been popularly used for over 40 years. DEET is mild, and causes less irritations that many other insect repellents. It is so safe and gentle to use that the Academy Of Pediatrics gives the green light for DEET to be applied on infants at least 2 months old.

Heading out in the bright morning hours, not during the dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are more prevalent is also a wise choice. Wearing light clothing that covers the arms and legs, but is cool enough to prevent you from sweating(sweating attracts mosquitoes)is well encouraged. Remember to keep long hair tied up off of the neck, and to not wear hats that cause you to sweat and pull mosquitoes near.

beautiful-backyard-300x225Keeping mosquitoes away from you and your house can be a battle, but knowing what attracts them and repels them can help prevent much of the mosquito madness! Mosquitoes are attracted to warm wet and humid places, so certain gardens and plants will only aid in drawing these pests near your home. To keep the outside of your home looking lovely, but keep mosquitoes away, try planting shrubs of mint, marigold, or tulasi. Such plants not only smell and look pleasant, but cause mosquito to stay away. Trees of neem and lemon are also effective in deterring mosquito nesting. You may also consider growing lemon and/or citronella grass to keep mosquitoes away. You can plant both if you like, as both are so closely related that they can interbreed.

Although insect repellent may be an obvious choice, some people have strong reactions to insect repellents. Many people simply want to go a more natural route for keeping insects off of their skin. Such individuals would enjoy using natural oils such as lavender, mint, tea tree, and peppermint. These oils are great alternatives to chemical repellents for those with allergens, or who just want to go all natural for personal health reasons. Just a small amount of these oils is that’s needed. Burning natural camphor wax can also be useful.

Try lighting natural camphor and mint candles indoors or outdoors to keep mosquito pests away. Make sure to keep all windows shut, and leave doors closed. Even with a screen on the windows and doors, smaller mosquitoes can still squeeze in. Make sure to keep the home well air-conditioned, as humidity and heat is an encouragement for mosquito breeding. Keeping your home dry and clean will help prevent mosquitoes from invading your home.

If you hate annoying mosquito zappers try a traditional Tiki lamp for outdoors, or an oil lamp, and infuse it with the natural oil repellents listed before. Another trick for keeping mosquitoes away is to boil garlic pods and add them to a spray bottle for your own instant home-made repellent.

Eliminating mosquito infestation professionally around the inside and outside of homes can be irritating and costly, so following these tips and methods are encouraged. You will not only save money and misery, but you will do the rest of Phoenix, Arizona a great favor helping to cut mosquito infestations and West Nile!

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