With summer now in full swing, you might have noticed the influx of mozzies as they infiltrate your home. The weather event La Nina (read more about it here) unfortunately provides the perfect weather conditions for mosquitoes to come out in full force. We’ve listed some ways you can help to combat them and prepare for the season ahead.

According to Dr Cameron Webb, Medical Entomologist at the University of Sydney, “The reason the conditions are so favourable at the moment is that they’re occurring right at the beginning of summer,” he says. “If this rainfall occurred at the end of summer, autumn or in the middle of winter it wouldn’t be hot enough for mosquitoes to get active. This is the perfect timing for mozzies to respond as the weather warms up.”

Diseases

Mosquitoes can carry diseases that may be passed on to people through mosquito bites. Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes in Australia include Dengue fever, Australian encephalitis, Ross River (RR) virus disease and Barmah Forerst (BF) virus disease. Mosquito-borne diseases can make people ill and, in severe cases, can cause death.

What you can do to prepare

“While you can’t stop them from entering your backyard, you can remove all water-holding containers, such as buckets, jars, cans or even neglected children’s toys,” Cameron says. “Anything that fills with water is a home for mosquitoes.”

When outside, make sure you apply your repellent properly. “Apply an even coat around all areas of exposed skin. Don’t dab or spray the repellent around the area in which you’re sitting. That won’t prevent mosquito bites.

“Lastly, make sure you have flyscreens in your home, or caravan or tent if you’re camping, to stop mosquitoes biting at night,” Cameron says.

Other ways you can avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes include:

  • Use ceiling or floor fans to reduce the chance of bites in your home.

  • Use ‘knockdown’ fly spray against visible mosquitoes in your home.

  • Consider using plug-in mosquito ‘zappers’ or vaporisers in enclosed verandahs or mosquito-coils in outdoor areas. These should be switched off or put out as soon as the area is no longer in use.

  • Keep gutters and drains clean so water runs freely.

  • Mend leaking taps.

  • Change pet drinking bowls, bird baths and vase waters at least once a week, and more regularly in very warm weather.

  • Put sand around the base of pot plants.

  • Keep swimming pools well maintained or empty or securely covered if not in use.

  • Keep fish ponds tidy with minimal vegetation around the edges.

  • Keep lawns and gardens trimmed back to reduce the areas where mosquitoes rest.

How should you treat mosquito bites?

To treat mosquito bites, wash them with soap and warm water. You can also use over-the-counter pain relievers, antihistamines, or topical anti-itch medications to control pain and itching. Applying an ice pack to your skin can also provide relief from itching. If you have a child with itchy mosquito bites, make sure they keep their fingernails short and remind them not to scratch.

It’s rare for anyone to have a severe allergic reaction to a mosquito bite. If you develop body aches, headache, or fever after getting bitten, contact Sonder or your doctor. These may be symptoms of a severe reaction or mosquito-borne disease.


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Information sourced from: Healthline, Australian Geographic and Better Health Channel.

Image credit: Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

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