Overview

Summer trips often lead to wooded areas where mosquitoes and ticks often bite. Although these insects are just an annoyance, leaving an itchy inflamed area of skin, they can also spread diseases. Mosquitoes are known to carry malaria and other dangerous diseases such as encephalitis and Zika. Ticks are most frequently associated with carrying Lyme disease, but also can carry dozens of other diseases. To prevent mosquito and tick bites this season, below are several tips.

Tips

  1. Know where they are.
    1. Mosquitoes live in wooded, leafy areas or by any stagnant water including pools, birdbaths, and trash.
    2. Ticks are also found in wooded areas, but they prefer to stay closer to the ground.
  2. Know when they are active.
    1. Mosquitoes are mostly active between dusk and dawn.
    2. Ticks are usually active during the driest and warmest parts of the day.
    3. Mosquitoes are most attracted to people whom they can sense. This includes people who emit large quantities of carbon dioxide, are pregnant, have recently ingested beer, or wear vibrant colors.
  3. Use protection.
    1. The best products to prevent both mosquitoes and ticks are those products which contain at least 20% DEET. Such products include Off!, Sawyer, and Ultrathon.
    2. If you are wearing sunscreen as well, apply the sunscreen first and then thoroughly apply the bug spray.
    3. To protect against both mosquitoes and ticks, cover as much skin as possible when entering an area where mosquitoes and ticks live. Tucking in shirts and pants will also help avoid ticks and mosquitoes.
    4. Always cover up when working in the yard, gardening, or mowing the lawn.
  4. If you are bitten by a mosquito use the following tips:
    1. Apply hydrocortisone cream
    2. Do not scratch the bite
  5. If you are bitten by a tick, use the following tips:
    1. Bathe or shower as soon as you return from the outdoors
    2. Inspect your entire body for ticks
    3. Remove any ticks by using tweezers. Be sure to grab the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull outward steadily without twisting or jerking. Clean the skin thoroughly after removing the tick and place the tick in alcohol. Click here for a tutorial view.
    4. You may send any ticks to a lab for testing to see if the tick carried any dangerous diseases. Click here for more information about labs .

Additional Resources

How to Remove a Tick

AMCA — Mosquito FAQ

Placer — Mosquito Facts

CDC — Tickborne Diseases of the United States

Smithsonian — Why Do Mosquitoes Bite Some People More than Others?