May 20, 2016

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services recommends top five steps Missourians can take to protect against mosquito and tick bites

Prepare for summer by protecting against bug bites

With summer right around the corner, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) compiled the top five tips for protecting against mosquito and tick bites. Missourians all across our state will be enjoying our great parks, trails and streams, and should know all the proper precautions to take.

Additionally, while there have not been any cases of Zika virus locally transmitted in Missouri or anywhere else in the continental United States, these tips can help people protect themselves from all mosquito and tick-borne illnesses and ease concerns Missourians may have.

"We want Missourians to enjoy all the great parks, trails and streams our state has to offer, while also protecting themselves from mosquito and tick bites," said Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Acting Director Peter Lyskowski. "A few easy steps, like wearing insect repellent or ensuring there is no standing water around a person's home, provide protection against very serious diseases that bugs can carry."

DHSS lists these top five tips as the best way to protect against bug bites:

  1. Wear insect repellent on your skin and clothing: When used correctly, insect repellent is the best way to avoid mosquito and tick bites, and even children and pregnant women can use it. Consult the CDC for acceptable repellent: http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/faq/repellent.html
  2. Wear loose fitting clothing that covers skin: When weather permits, wearing long, loose-fitting shirts and pants can reduce your chances of getting bitten by a mosquito, especially when combined with the use of insect repellent.
  3. Ensure windows, screens are secure and use air conditioning when possible: Keeping the doors, screens and windows in your home secure and intact, along with using air conditioning to keep your house cool when possible, will help reduce your exposure to mosquitoes by keeping them outside.
  4. Eliminate standing water around your home:  Mosquitoes can lay eggs in water-filled containers. Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover or throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots or trash containers. Check inside and outside your home.
  5. Talk to family members and friends about the importance of mosquito bite avoidance: The best way you can help protect those you care about is by sharing these tips and suggestions with your friends or family members.

For more information, the CDC has more about avoiding insect bites, especially while travelling, that Missourians can review and consult: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/avoid-bug-bites.

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