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Warm summer days are meant to be enjoyed outdoors! Bugs – from ticks to mosquitoes – are capable of spreading diseases, including Zika, dengue and Lyme disease. Whether you’re traveling to faraway destinations or venturing into your own backyard, here are some tips to help keep insect bites to a minimum this season.
Cover exposed skin
Before taking on the great outdoors, consider your wardrobe selection. Try incorporating clothes that can cover as much skin as possible, such as a lightweight long-sleeved shirt, full-length pants, socks and a hat. For added protection, tuck your shirt into your pants, and your pants into socks, to seal out bugs. Lighter-colored clothes are thought to be less attractive to mosquitos searching for food sources during the daylight hours, as since mosquitoes tend to find targets by looking for things that contrast with the horizon.
Stock up on repellants
When shopping for insect repellant, be sure to use EPA-registered insect repellant that contains at least 20 percent DEET. While other repellants may protect against mosquitos, those with lower concentrations of DEET may not be as effective against ticks or other bugs. The CDC recommends against using products that contain both sunscreen and repellant and suggests applying them separately so that the sunscreen can dry before insect repellant is applied. Visit your local Walgreens to stock up on insect repellant, sunscreen and other summer essentials.
Avoid peak mosquito hours and places
Peak mosquito hours are at dawn and dusk, as the lack of wind at those times offers ideal feeding conditions for mosquitos, ticks and other bugs. Your location also determines your risk for insect bites. Farms, damp environments and areas with standing water are more likely to have a larger mosquito population than drier areas.
Prevent mosquito breeding in your own backyard
Your household bleach can be used a pesticide to kill mosquito larvae that may be lurking in standing water. Empty the standing water when possible, and spray with a bleach solution around once a week to prevent mosquitos from breeding. If it's regular standing water, apply 1 tablespoon for every gallon of standing water. Keep in mind bleach will kill mosquito larvae, bacteria and fungi, but is harmful to wildlife and pets. Don’t add bleach to a natural pond or stream, or standing water that your pets, birds or other wildlife could drink from.
Vaccinate against insect-borne illnesses
When traveling internationally, it’s important to confirm that you are properly vaccinated against mosquito-borne (and other) illnesses. Click here to find out what vaccinations are required for travel.
When you link your AARP Membership to your Balance Rewards® card at Walgreens, you can get 1000 points per vaccination. Learn more about vaccination benefits and other special offers here.
These articles present general information and are for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for legal, financial, medical, or other professional advice.