Fast Facts about Mosquitoes
Did you know that there are 60 different species of mosquitos in Oklahoma, 230 species in the United States, and over 3,500 species worldwide?
The most common mosquito-borne illness in Oklahoma is West Nile Virus, which will be discussed in depth in next month’s Epidemiology post
With just one bite, mosquitos can transmit diseases such as West Nile Virus, Malaria, Chikungunya Virus, Dengue Fever, Zika Virus… and the list goes on.
Although not every mosquito transmits diseases, it is always best to use caution to avoid potentially getting ill.
There are several insects that can be mistaken as mosquitos, such as non-biting midges, craneflies, and occasionally mayflies. For more information about these insects and to help with identification, click here.
The best way to avoid a mosquito-borne illness is through prevention. Guidance for how to use insect repellent safely can be found here.
Use insect repellent that is Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)- registered. Find the repellent that works best for you by using this handy tool found here. In general, look for repellents with these active ingredients:
Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
Treat clothing and gear (such as boots or tents) using 0.5% permethrin, or purchase permethrin-treated clothing and gear
Use screens on windows and doors
Empty items that can hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, pools, flowerpots, or trash containers. These can be a breeding ground for mosquitos.
When a mosquito bites you, the skin is pierced and can result in mild to moderate symptoms, such as an itchy bump or clusters of smaller itchy bumps.
Wash the area with soap and water
Apply an ice pack for 10 minutes to reduce swelling and itching
Apply a mixture of baking soda and water, which can help reduce the itch response
Mix 1 tablespoon baking soda with just enough water to create a paste
Apply the paste to the mosquito bite
Wait 10 minutes, then wash off the paste
Use an over-the-counter anti-itch or antihistamine cream to help relieve itching
Seek medical care if symptoms worsen
Although some people may have symptoms if they have been infected with a mosquito-borne illness, others may not show symptoms at all. The most common symptoms to watch for include:
For more information about mosquito-borne illnesses, visit OSDH. If you are concerned about a mosquito-borne illness, contact your healthcare provider.