As summer continues, mosquito and tick bites are continuing to happen, but there are ways to stay safe from the pesky bugs and things like West Nile Virus or Lyme disease.
Peak mosquito season is quickly approaching, and there are ways around it.
By planning ahead and using bug spray, you can enjoy your summer without the itchy bites.
According to WENY News, the Department of Environmental Protection’s West Nile Virus program works to trap mosquitos and test for the virus.
The special equipment is used around the state to trap them.
After testing, it has been found that there are over 20 counties throughout the state where West Nile has been detected.
There are currently only a handful of potential human cases.
Ways you can keep mosquitos to a minimum and enjoy your summer
If you have overgrown weeds in your yard, trim them to give mosquitos less shade to stay in.
Blowing a fan toward you instead of using bug spray works better due to the bugs being weak fliers.
If you have cans or containers around your yard, as well as any item that can collecting standing water, remove them.
For containers you cannot remove, drill holes into them so they aren’t collecting that water that mosquitos lay eggs in.
Get your gutters cleaned each year and flip plastic pools and wheelbarrows over when they aren’t being used.
Be sure to change out your birdbath water and stock ponds with fish if you have one.
You can landscape to help your property not collect water and chlorinate your pool to stop mosquitos from being around the water.
Do some people end up getting more mosquito bites than others?
It is true that there are factors that go into what makes mosquitos want to bite some people more than others.
Many people believe that mosquitos bite because they feed off of blood, but according to CNet, they actually don’t.
Only female mosquitos bite, and they do it to feed off of the proteins in blood to develop their eggs.
Mosquitos really feed off of plant nectar.
Different things make you more likely to get bit.
First is the color of your clothes.
Darker colors like black are more visual to the bugs, and red stands out as well.
Mosquitos smells carbon dioxide from people exhaling, so if people release larger amounts, they’re more likely to be bit.
Lactic acid, uric acid, and ammonia are all chemicals mosquitos are attracted to.
These chemicals are also found in sweat, so if someone sweats more they’ll attract mosquitos.
Genetics are what create a person’s amount of uric acid released, so you may be genetically more attractive to the mosquitos.
There is no evidence that blood types attract mosquitos, but it’s been noticed that more people with type O blood are bit.
The size of your mosquito bites is determined by how your immune system responds to the bites.
The immune systems responds to the saliva from a mosquito due to proteins and foreign substances in the saliva.
You can use these tips to help keep mosquitos away from biting you.
People can use bug sprays, natural repellants, stay inside after dark, not wear dark clothes, stay away from standing water, and use netting when camping.
You can relieve annoying mosquito bites with rubbing alcohol, oatmeal baths, Benadryl, mild corticosteroid creams, aloe vera, or a cold compress.
How common is West Nile Virus?
Following the state of New York’s mosquito testing, West Nile Virus has been found throughout the state.
It has also been found throughout Jefferson County, Kentucky.
Impacted zip codes include 40203, 40206, 40208, 40211, 40212, 40214 and 40215, according to WLKY News.
The virus was discovered through testing traps set in the seven zip codes.
The virus is typically found in the state.
There have been zero human cases reported so far this year.
In 2021, there were 3 cases reported and zero deaths due to the virus.
Residents are told they should automatically assume the virus is in every zip code every year.
Residents are asked to use insect repellant, wear long sleeves, pants, and socks, be aware at dawn and dusk, use screens, and remove any standing water around outside.
Larvicide is used at the start of every season in the spring to help stop eggs from hatching in common breeding sites.
In the summer, catch basins are treated, and fogging is performed when necessary.
What is Jamestown Canyon Virus and how is it spread?
One case of Jamestown Canyon Virus has been detected in the state of Rhode Island.
According to Patch.com, a man in his fifties developed neurological symptoms.
Testing was performed by the CDC for the man residing in Washington County.
Despite his symptoms following the bite, he is now recovering.
Jamestown Canyon Virus, or JCV, is founf in the Midwest and Northeast of the U.S.
The virus mostly impacts deer, but humans can get it.
The season for receiving this disease is usually late spring through the middle of fall.
Some people experience no symptoms while others see milder ones.
Early symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches and fatigue.
There can be more serious symptoms including a serious central nervous system disease like meningitis or encephalitis.
As mosquitos continue to bother people, ticks are showing up this summer as well
According to WENY News, the CDC states that Pennsylvania has the highest reported cases of Lyme disease.
In addition to the tick-related disease, the state has seen new tick species and tickborne illnesses in recent years.
In just the last 20 years, there have been more than 110,000 cases of Lyme disease reported.
Now the number is believed to be much higher than that.
The state of Pennsylvania is working to pass legislation that would help combat the tick issues.
SB 1188 would help by providing coverage for doctor recommended Lyme disease treatments as well as provding education and awareness for diseases.
While Pennsylvania sees an uptick of tick species and Lyme disease, the disease has actually spiked fourfold due to the climate crisis, according to the Independent.
That major increase has been seen in the U.S. over the last 15 years.
Lyme disease has actually gone up 65% in urban areas.
Studies are showing that the climate crisis is helping expand the species of ticks out there, which then increases the chances of Lyme disease.
In Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, a three year child fell incredibly ill following a tick bite.
The child was reportedly swimming in a pool on June 15. He noticed something on his back, according to Local 12.
His sister had actually been diagnosed with Lyme disease three years earlier.
The tick was removed successfully. Unfortunately a few days later a red bump appeared followed by strange behavior two weeks later.
His mother said he had no appetite and a headache and after trying medication ended up with a temperature of 104 degrees.
At the hospital, his white blood cell count was up to 30,000, when a healthy amount for a three year old is 5,000-10,000.
The child was transferred to a specialist where after an MRI, was diagnosed with meningoencephalitis, an infection of the brain and surrounding tissue.
He received a treatment of antibodies through plasma and after not being responsive for days, was awake and talking after the first treatment.
12 days later he went home.
It turned out the child had Powassan virus, which only 194 people in the U.S. have had between 2011 and 2020.
Like Lyme disease, it is a tickborne illness.
Related: I have a bug bite, which bug bit or stung me?
Samantha edits our personal finance and consumer news section. Have a question or lead? Send it to [email protected].