Summertime means longer days, warmer weather, and more opportunities to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. It also means more chances to run into a pesky mosquito or two along the way. Aging parents and others need to make sure that while enjoying the summer they avoid mosquitoes as much as possible.
What’s wrong with a little bite between friends?
Most mosquito bites are relatively harmless; they may itch for a while, but they cause no other problems; however, there are cases in which a mosquito bite can result in illness. West Nile Virus, of course, is probably the illness that most readily comes to mind. This virus can be especially dangerous to aging parents and other seniors, so avoiding it is very important.
In addition to diseases, mosquito bites can cause other issues for aging parents; for example, scratching a bite can cause it to become infected. If you do receive a mosquito bite, treat it with calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream. If you have a reaction, definitely contact your doctor to see what else to do.
An ounce of prevention…
Rather than treating a bite, avoid getting bit at all. Here are a few ways to protect yourself this summer.
- Be repellent. Make sure that mosquitoes know that they are not welcome on your skin. Choose a mosquito repellent and use it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends one with DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. You might consult your doctor to see if he or she has a recommendation, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Cover up. If you know that you are likely to encounter mosquitoes, try to cover as much of your body as possible. Long sleeved but lightweight shirts and blouses, and long but lightweight pants are a good idea. Wear socks as well.
- Clock in. Although mosquitoes can appear at any time, most tend to be more active at the beginning and end of the day. If you can avoid being out close to dawn and dusk, your chances of being bitten decrease.
- Don’t stand for water. Mosquitoes are big fans of standing water. That’s where they like to lay their eggs. If you have standing water, such as long-lasting puddles or rainwater collected in garbage cans or buckets on your property, get rid of it. Keep monitoring the situation and try to eliminate standing water on at least a weekly basis.
- Get screened. Make sure your windows and doors have appropriate screens; if the screens have holes, repair them.
- Bring in the wind. Mosquitoes don’t like a lot of moving air, so use fans to keep the air moving.
Summer can be a lovely time for aging parents and others. Don’t let mosquitoes keep you from enjoying this special time of year.