How to avoid bites from mosquitoes, gnats, and ticks

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) — After a wet spring, and now warm start to the summer the air is filled with biting bugs that could potentially carry diseases.

Mosquitos, buffalo gnats, and ticks are in peak season and it’s important to know how to protect yourself from diseases.

Dustin Hinrichs an environmental quality supervisor with Linn County Public Health said protection is important especially for children during these summer months.

Hinrich recommends bug repellent containing DEET and Permethrin on clothing or camping equipment, changing your lifestyle, and layering up to keep yourself protected.

“Try not to spend too much time outdoors in one shot either in the morning or the evening. You know when light levels are a little bit lower that’s when the mosquitoes are going to come out and look for their blood meals, looking to bite people,” said Hinrichs.

Some cities such as Hiawatha turn to spray or fogging to keep the bugs at bay. Owner of Mosquito Control of Iowa, Matt Welter, the company doing the work said they have several approached to keep the populations down.

“When you do the fogging it helps keep the adult populations down so every mosquito you kill isn’t going out there and biting someone and going out and laying 300 eggs,” said Welter.

If you use DEET, check the label and make sure it’s safe for direct skin application. It also protects against ticks which can carry Lyme Disease. Physicians Assistant, Janelle Knight at UnityPoint Family Medicine in Cedar Rapids said doing regular checks in critical to reduce risk.

“If it’s on your longer than, I think it’s 36 to 48 hours then your risk of Lyme Disease increases. Of course, making sure it’s cleaned with soap and water or rubbing alcohol reduces your risk of infection but if you have any concern it’s never a bad idea to get checked in the office,” said Knight.

Removing a tick from a person is the same process as removing one from a pet. Use tweezers and an upward pressure to remove it, without twisting or breaking off the head.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease can include a bulls-eye rash, fever, or swollen lymph nods. However, it can take up to two weeks to show symptoms and some people never do. Contact your doctor with any concerns.

Iowa State provides a mosquito surveillance system. 

Ashley Neighbor

Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids
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