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Your Healthy Family: Keeping the mosquitoes away

Posted at 7:26 AM, Jul 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-06 07:26:13-04

Mosquitoes are considered the deadliest animal in the world. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they kill more people than any other animal as they spread diseases like Malaria, Dengue Fever, and West Nile Virus.

Last week, the Florida Department of Health issued a statewide mosquito-borne illness advisory because of 4 confirmed cases of malaria in Sarasota County.

Every year, mosquito-borne illnesses cause around 700,000 deaths worldwide. In the summer months, mosquitoes are out in full force.

"Really provides a fantastic environment for the mosquitoes to get out and about and enjoy the daily hunt for humans," Conor McMeniman of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute said.

McMeniman studies the attraction of mosquitoes to humans. He said the bugs have a powerful sense of smell and can track chemicals we emit through our breath and skin.

"Some people are more attractive to mosquitoes than others, and we think a large part of the reason for this is the way that we smell to different mosquito species," he said.

He has some tips to protect yourself from mosquitoes:

  • Use window screens
  • Use air conditioning in fans, which make your home less inviting to mosquitoes
  • Tip out standing water
  • Remove any debris where mosquitoes may gather and breed
  • Wear long sleeves and pants
  • Apply an EPA registered bug repellent

"Those containing active ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535 are really wonderful synthetic ingredients that ward away mosquitoes," McMeniman said.

He said to remember to reapply bug spray when you're outside to stay protected.