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Today is World Mosquito Day and DOH-St. Lucie Urges all Residents to Protect Themselves from Mosquito and Tick-Borne Illnesses

By Arlease Hall

August 20, 2020

The Florida Department of Health in St. Lucie County (DOH-St. Lucie) is urging all residents and visitors, especially those spending time outdoors, to protect themselves from mosquito and tick bites this summer season. While most tick and mosquito bites are only an annoyance, sometimes these bites can be dangerous. Preventing bites reduces the risk of a person getting infected with a mosquito- or tick-borne disease.

According to the CDC, mosquitoes are the world’s deadliest animal, and kill more people, than any other creature in the entire world. “Today we send this press release as a reminder that we are in our summer months, which brings the summer heat, rain, and humidity; and as the peak of hurricane season approaches the mosquito and tick population can become more prevalent. It is critically important to take protective measures. Time outdoors increases your exposure to these disease - spreading pests.  It is extremely important that you take preventative measures for you and your family when outdoors”, said Clint Sperber, Health Officer and Administrator of the Florida Department of Health in St. Lucie County.

Mosquito Bite Prevention

Using the right insect repellent and other preventive actions can discourage mosquitoes from landing on you. Follow these “Drain and Cover” tips to help prevent mosquito bites.

Drain water from outside areas to reduce the number of places mosquitoes can lay their eggs and breed.

  • Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flowerpots or any other containers where sprinkler or rainwater has collected.
  • Discard old tires, bottles, pots, broken appliances and other items not being used.
  • Empty and clean birdbaths and pets’ water bowls at least twice a week.
  • Keep ditches, culverts and gutters clear so that water doesn’t back up.
  • Flush water-holding plants, such as bromeliads, regularly with water.
  • Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that do not accumulate water.
  • Maintain swimming pools in good condition and chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

Download these infographics for more information: Mosquitoes- Keep Them Outside and Stop Them From Breeding and Protect Your Home From Mosquitoes.

Cover with protective clothing while outdoors and keep doors and windows closed to prevent mosquitoes from going indoors.

  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeves while outside when and where mosquitoes are most prevalent to discourage mosquitoes from biting.
  • Apply insect repellent that contains DEET (10-30%), picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone or IR3535.
  • Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Do not apply permethrin directly to skin. Some sports clothing and gear come pretreated with permethrin.
  • Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.
  • Check and repair screens on doors and windows. Keep them closed and use air conditioning when possible.
  • Make sure window screens are in good repair to reduce the chance of mosquitoes getting indoors.

Download the Mosquito Bite Protection in Florida infographic.

Tick Bite Prevention

Ticks are commonly found on the tips of grasses and shrubs and climb aboard humans as they walk by. Follow these steps to help prevent tick bites.

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, boots or sturdy shoes, and a head covering. Ticks will be more visible if clothing is light-colored.
  • Apply insect repellent that contains DEET (10-30%), picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone or IR3535.
  • Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Do not apply permethrin directly to skin. Some sports clothing and gear come pretreated with permethrin.
  • Walk in the center of trails so grass, shrubs, and weeds do not brush against you.
  • Check for and remove ticks from your clothing, body, hair, and pets when you have been outside.
  • Washing clothing in hot water or tumbling dry clothing in the dryer for at least 10 minutes set at high heat will kill ticks.
  • Shower soon after being in tick habitat.
  • If a tick is found on the skin it is important to safely remove the tick as soon as possible.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about tick prevention products for your pets.
  • Keep grass, shrubs and trees close to your residence trimmed.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on preventing tick bites,

Tips on Using Repellent

  • For both mosquitoes and ticks, use insect repellent approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on exposed skin and clothing. EPA’s helpful search tool can help you find the product that best suits your needs. 
  • Follow instructions on the product label, especially if you’re applying it to children.
  • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin, or onto clothing, but not under clothing.
  • Always follow instructions when applying insect repellent to children and do not use repellents with DEET on babies younger than 2 months or oil of lemon eucalyptus on children under 3 years old.
  • Avoid applying repellents to the hands of children. Adults should apply repellent first to their own hands and then transfer it to the child’s skin and clothing.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on the safe use of repellant.