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Everything You Need To Know About Mosquito Bites and The Infections They Cause

While mosquitoes are tiny insects (the average measures about a tenth of an inch), they are the deadliest animal in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 700 million people are affected by mosquito-borne illnesses each year, resulting in 1 million deaths.

Here’s everything you need to know about mosquito bites and the infections they cause.

1) Mosquitoes Thrive in Standing Water.

One of the best things patients can do to try to avoid getting a mosquito-borne illness is to eliminate any standing water from their home. Not only do mosquitoes thrive in puddles; they also will lay their eggs in flower vases, pool covers, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers, buckets and rain barrels. It’s wise to empty containers of their water and turn them upside down when they’re not in use.

2) Mosquito Bites Are More Common in Warm Weather.

Mosquitoes are more active in warmer temperatures. So it’s a good idea to take extra precautions to prevent mosquito bites year-round if you live in the southeastern U.S., and in the spring and summer if you live in other parts of the U.S.

3) Mosquitoes Carry Dozens of Diseases.

While the most common mosquito-borne illness in the world is malaria, the most common mosquito-borne illness in the U.S. is West Nile Virus. Mosquitoes can transmit dozens of other infections, including Zika virus, Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever, several forms of encephalitis, and the Chikungunya virus.

4) Prevention is the Best Cure.

Protecting yourself against mosquito bites is the safest way to avoid the dangerous diseases these bites can cause. In addition to eliminating standing water, the Center for Disease Control recommends using an EPA-registered insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants when you’re outdoors, and making sure there are screens on all windows and doors.

Patients traveling internationally to areas that are endemic with mosquito-borne diseases should sleep under a mosquito net and consult with their medical provider before their trip about taking a medication to prevent malaria.

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