Fight the Bite of Mosquitoes

Mosquito bites can be an itchy nuisance during holiday festivities – but they’re also a health threat. A recent CDC report shows illnesses caused by mosquitoes have risen in recent years.

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CLEVELAND – Mosquito bites can be an itchy nuisance during holiday festivities – but they’re also a health threat.

A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report showed illnesses caused by mosquitoes have risen in recent years.

Cleveland Clinic’s Alan Taege, M.D., said the best way to avoid illness from mosquitos is to prevent bites – and dumping standing water is a good place to start.

“A classic example would be old tires that will hold rainwater inside them,” he said. “It’s a perfect area for the mosquitoes to breed and multiply, or even puddles and ponds of water just sitting around in your yard and other areas because this is where mosquitoes like to breed.”

Dr. Taege said applying mosquito repellent is the best way to avoid a bite.

Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants will protect the skin from mosquitoes as well.

Keeping mosquitoes outside is important – so be sure window and door screens are intact.

The most common mosquito-borne illnesses are West Nile, dengue and Zika; and they’re spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Dr. Taege said many people won’t become sick from a mosquito-related infection. However, some people will develop symptoms – usually within a week.

“It’s usually fever and body aches and sometimes a rash,” said Dr. Taege. “People know that something’s going on – it’s usually not subtle.” 

Severe mosquito-related illness is rare, but can be deadly in some cases. Therefore, Dr. Taege said it’s always a good idea to check with a doctor if someone is sick, especially if it could be from a mosquito bite.

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