In many ways, you might be more familiar with mosquitos from your everyday life.
But the insects can be more deadly than you think.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably spent the last couple of weeks in a mosquito trap or infested area, where you have no idea how many mosquitos you’re dealing with.
“I have had a lot of people tell me, ‘I thought I was going to die’,” says John Stolte, a Florida-based writer and consultant on health and sustainability issues.
“[But] what I’ve learned is that it’s actually quite common.”
Stolte has spent the past couple of years researching and writing about the impacts of mosquitoes and the impact they can have on humans.
He has compiled a collection of advice for people living in mosquito-infested areas, with the aim of getting people to think more about the risks.
The topic has been around for years, but experts are now beginning to realise the damage mosquito populations can have, and that the public has to take responsibility.
Some experts say it is time to think seriously about the public health impacts of mosquitos and to consider the benefits of insect control methods that are proven and effective.
For example, the Florida Department of Health and Environmental Control (FDOH) advises that the following precautions should be taken:Avoid wearing gloves and mop.
“There are ways to prevent getting bitten, but that is not the only way,” says Dr Michael Matson, an infectious disease specialist at Florida Hospital.
“We are looking at ways to use mosquito repellents that are less irritating than traditional ones.”
Matson says the best approach is to wear long sleeves, which reduce the chances of being bitten.
If you can’t wear gloves, wear a mask.
Avoid touching the insect.
“We don’t want them to be attracted to us.
We want them not to be able to get a grip,” he says.”
If you don’t, they won’t bite you.”
The most effective way to prevent bites is to avoid contact with mosquitoes.
“The best way to reduce mosquito bite rates is to get away from them.
If it’s really windy, you should just turn around,” says Matson.”
They will leave you with a scratch.”
Mathers recommends wearing long sleeves to avoid the chance of being bit.
“You should wear a hat or mask if you have any concerns about getting bitten.
Don’t wear a pair of pants or flip flops,” he advises.”
Avoid swimming in water.
If there’s an infestation, you’ll want to use a spray bottle to spray the water on the mosquito, and you’ll be better off if you do that with a cloth.”
Keep a bucket in your garage, a shed, or your garden,” he adds.
What do you do if you think you might have been bitten?”
So don’t feed them. “
They will have a reaction and you may get a reaction yourself.
So don’t feed them.
They will bite if you feed them, and if you don.
You may also get an infection.
It is not safe to feed any insecticide that you haven’t tested, or the insecticide you have used.”
I wouldn’t feed an insecticide, for example, which has been sprayed into your home, or you can put it into your garden.
It may take a few minutes,” says Kym Ritchie, a lecturer at the University of Queensland. “
If it bites, you can call an ambulance.
It may take a few minutes,” says Kym Ritchie, a lecturer at the University of Queensland.
You can also try to get to a safer area and call the emergency services.
“The response time is really quite long, and a lot depends on where the bite occurred,” she says.
What if I think I might be bitten?
The best advice is to contact your GP if you suspect you may have been affected by the bites.
“Most people will be fine, but they may have some pain and swelling,” says Ritchie.
“A good first step is to check the area to make sure you don,t have a skin infection.
If so, it is probably best to see your GP and ask them to give you some antibiotics to try and kill the parasite.
If that doesn’t help, it may be better to have a blood test to make certain you are not infected with the parasite.””
If the infection is mild, they will not bite you,” says David Bowers, a specialist in public health at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
“Most people get over that quickly, and the parasite may not be able get out.
It will then need to be removed.”
Bowers advises people with more severe symptoms should call their GP.
“Many people get bitten during the day and will be able, through their behaviour, to stop it from getting worse,” he explains