Mosquitoes, long unwelcome guests at picnics and summer events, can cause discomfort. In the case of the Zika virus, a mosquito that passes on the disease might be responsible for pregnant women giving the virus to their unborn babies. Serious birth defects can result.
Taking precautions can make this threat negligible. Here are some approaches to containing the risk and providing a safer environment around your home.
Assess the Risk Factors
Any mosquito bites are unpleasant. The itchy, swelling of mosquito bites can turn a great picnic into a miserable aftermath.
Risk factors for the Zika virus are much greater when traveling to various countries. Cases have also been tracked in the majority of the United States, but the Center for Disease Control (CDC) lists South Florida and Brownsville, Texas as areas where local mosquitoes have transmitted the Zika virus.
Pregnant women and those who have engaged in unprotected sex with people who have contracted the Zika virus are the most vulnerable. For pregnant women, the danger of transmitting the disease to their fetus can lead to birth defects such as microcephaly in their children.
For many who contract the disease, the symptoms may not be noticeable, but those who do exhibit reactions may experience fever, rash, head, joint pains, red eyes, and muscle pain. There are no vaccines to prevent becoming infected with the Zika virus.
Precautionary Measures for You and Your Family
Start at home. Mosquitoes survive in wet areas. They also seek blood to help in their reproductive cycles. Protect your family.
The mosquito larvae are small, about the size of a fingernail, but once grown they take their breeding seriously. Unfortunately for humans, we have enticing scents they are attracted to and human blood is an essential part of their providing for their next generation.
Begin with repellents applied to the skin like DEET. Check with doctors for recommendations for babies and young children. Some DIY advocates proclaim the efficacy of garlic as a repellent.
Dozens of products containing DEET are on the market for use as topical repellents, but they actually work by masking human scents so the mosquitoes don’t smell and aren’t attracted to human blood.
Next Clean up Your Yard
Don’t let your yard become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Small amounts of water in unsuspecting places can become the home for mosquitoes.
Small spaces with water like flowerpot saucers to pet water bowls can be places where mosquitoes nest. The list of places where mosquitoes breed includes pool covers, ponds, ditches, discarded tires, trashcans, clogged gutters, moist soil, and birdbaths. Just a little water is all it takes for them to multiply. And, grass, weeds, and shrubs are also areas where mosquitoes reproduce.
To rid your yard of places where mosquitoes proliferate, just once a summer is not enough. CDC sources recommend cleaning up the water catch basins once a week.
Plus, don’t forget trimming the lawn, shrubs, and trees. And, if you let your dog out to romp in the yard, you need to promptly clean up after them.
It all sounds a bit overwhelming. But, that’s why a structured plan with an experienced person or lawn and yard care service can make a difference.
By recruiting an experienced professional person or service, you reclaim time to enjoy your yard, pool, and other outdoor amenities. Maybe you just want to garden or grow vegetables. You can save the time for that while everything else gets done for you.
The added bonus is that the tools, chemicals, and time to research what needs to be done to rid your yard of biting mosquitoes is taken care of for you. You don’t need to buy that special sprayer, research which chemicals are safe for your children and pets, and worry about losing control over your yard while you’re out of town.
Save yourself the effort and hire someone. We’re not talking about just your neighbor’s kid to mow the lawn. Find someone who really knows how to treat your yard, so your yard can treat you to seasons of happy enjoyment outside. Minus the mosquitoes!