Mosquito and Tick Prevention
Are Mosquitoes Harmful?
Mosquitoes can carry a virus called LAC. LAC is short for LaCrosse encephalitis. Most of the time, if you get bitten by a mosquito with LAC, you will not get sick. But LAC can also affect the brain and can be serious. Sometimes people with LAC get so sick they have to go to the hospital. Children younger than 15 are most likely to become ill from LAC.
- Use mosquito spray with DEET. Some other types of bug spray work also.
- Read the label on the bug spray. Follow the directions.
- Long sleeves, long pants and socks are a good way to protect against bug bites.
- Take a shower regularly to stay clean. Mosquitoes like body odor. Take a shower to wash off the sweat and the bug spray after you have been outdoors.
Can You Get Sick From a Tick?
Most of the time, no. But ticks can also carry diseases...like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Lyme disease starts off with a "bull's-eye" rash. You might also have fever and aches. If you get a bull's-eye rash, you should tell an adult so they can take you to a doctor.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever and some other diseases carried by ticks start off with fever and headache. You might also get a rash. If you don’t feel well, you should tell an adult so they can take you to a doctor.
What Can I Do to Avoid Ticks?
It is no fun being sick from a tick, so it is better to keep them from biting. Ticks like to live in woods with piles of leaves and shade. They also like weeds and tall grass. If you go into these areas with woods or weeds:
- If you can, stay on the trail.
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants. You can even tuck your pants into your socks to keep tick away.
- Use bug spray with 20% DEET on bare skin, particularly near the bottom of the pant legs and the ends of sleeves. Read the directions on the bug spray. Follow the directions.
- After you have been in the woods or in weeds, check for ticks. Ask a friend to help.
- Take a shower after hiking to help get rid of ticks.
If you find a tick stuck in your skin, ask an adult to help you remove the tick:
- Ticks should be removed with a pair of fine tipped tweezers. With the tweezers, grab the tick firmly and as close to the skin as possible.
- Pull the tick steadily and gradually away from the skin.
- Clean the tick bite site with soap and warm water.