Summer means longer days, and with that comes more outdoor time. So it's important to get your facts straight when it comes to protecting yourself against mosquitoes, since the tiny, pesky predators can carry a host of diseases.
Mosquitoes are annoying, and no one wants to get bitten, but avoiding them is a pretty good idea because they also can carry serious diseases.
So it's important to separate the facts from beliefs that are just plain wrong.
One common myth is that all mosquitoes bite humans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are over 3,000 species of mosquitoes. Different ones feed on either plant nectar, reptiles, birds or mammals. Of those species that bite humans, experts say, only the females go for the blood - they are seeking protein for egg production.
Another commonly held belief is that mosquitoes are attracted to certain foods, colors or blood types. The truth is that these factors generally don't make a difference.
Lastly, it's a myth that the U.S. is free of mosquito-borne diseases.
Dengue Fever, yellow fever, chikungunya, malaria and the West Nile virus are real threats.
If you are going to be outdoors, use insect repellant on your exposed skin and clothing. Look for ingredients recommended by the CDC or EPA. Wear long sleeves, pants and socks.
It's also recommended that you empty standing water around your home.
Support your local county or city mosquito control programs.
Lastly, limit outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
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