family travel

Preventing Mosquito Bites

This week marks the beginning of the summer, and we are excited about family BBQs and picnics, as well as trips to the seven local attractions here in South Florida. Although we have next month planned out for when my parents arrive, there’s one thing we can’t plan for: warmer weather means BUGS!

Because Jeff and I have children under the age of five, we are very cautious when it comes to mosquito bites. Thankfully, I was able to chat with Eugene Zabolotsky on how parents can protect their family from the dangers of mosquito bites.

We have a pool in our yard and a lake nearby. This means we’re practically breeding mosquitoes in our area. To help avoid mosquito infestations when you have a pool or lake outside of your home, Zabolotsky suggests trying bug sprays that can attach to your hose and essentially cover your backyard in repellent or bug killer.
Zabolotsky, a member of the American Mosquito Control Association and developer of the Bite Helper, also suggests wearing loose long sleeve clothes and making sure you wear bright colors to help prevent mosquito bites. He added: “Try eliminating areas that remain in the shade for an extended period of time. This could mean you have to cut down branches or trees. Mosquitoes like darkness so the shadows and dark clothes increase your probabilities of mosquito living and reproducing around your house.”
Ultimately if you live on a body of water there is no 100% guarantee, discussed Zabolotsky. “The challenge with these insects is their ability to do things out of sight and only come into mind when they have already bitten you. The advice to avoid being outside at sunrise or sundown is amplified when you are living next to a body of water.”
Protect Yourself From Zika
We keep hearing about the Zika virus, and how it has affected people in warmer climates. Zabolotsky shared the different signs parents can look for to know whether or not someone has been infected with this virus:
Zabolotsky noted a list of common symptoms of the Zika virus mentioned by The Centers for Disease Control in late April. These symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes), as well as muscle pain and headache.
But one of the more frightening aspects of the Zika virus reported to date, according to Zabolotsky, is that most people with the disease will not even know it because most DO NOT show symptoms.Living in South Florida means we live where most people come to vacation. We like to visit local attractions and will be doing so with our two boys this year. To help prevent mosquito bites and the possibility of contacting the Zika virus at any of these attractions, Zabolotsky suggests we look into what these places are doing to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Undoubtedly places like Disney World, Busch Gardens and Universal Studios have some plan that they may be willing to share to a guest that asks. We are just not aware of it publicly.”
Zabolotsky also noted that the places to avoid have to always be mixed with the times to avoid. “Mosquitoes love sun up and sun down, so try to be inside during dawn and dusk,” he said. “As painful as it is to say popular attractions in Florida Everglades may suffer this year. The Everglades are amazing, literally a one of kind experience in the world.
But it is also a primetime spot for insects of every sort, especially mosquitoes. Standing water, lots of heat and humidity, zero mosquito mitigation efforts made in most parts. The major theme parks and beaches should be your summer travel Florida focus.”
The name of the game when playing for protection is doing all you can to limit the probabilities of being bitten, according to Zabolotsky. “Ultimately, there is no full proof plan unless you become the boy, or girl, in the bubble.”
Zabolotsky shared three key tips to preventing mosquito bites this summer:

1. Clothing Changes
Wear loose fitting long sleeves whenever possible. If you are driving somewhere with air conditioning and your only exposure will be walking from the car to the building and back again, try long sleeves. Don’t forget hats and socks too. (BONUS: you can add repellants onto the clothing for extra protection and there is clothing that already has it). Also, try to wear light colors. Mosquitoes are attracted to darker times.

2. Insect repellent
Make sure the repellent is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and has DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus. There are a series of numbers to look at but it is suggested that parents check the most recent suggestions from the Center for Disease Control.
3. Household chores
Repair door or window screens and make sure you get rid of all standing water, in and out of the house. Mosquitoes lay eggs in water. No water, the less of a chance you have to make a small problem a mosquito family of issues.
Learn more about Eugene Zabolotsky and the Bite Helper, a technology device which uses gentle heat application to get rid of the itch/bite. 
Follow The Bite Helper on social media as well

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