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How to Prevent Mosquito and Tick Bites This Summer

Four friends sitting outside having a picnic.

Don’t let mosquitoes and ticks ruin your carefree summer fun

Summer is almost here, which means more time outdoors for activities like camping, hiking, swimming, picnicking and barbecuing. But more time outside also means a greater chance of getting bitten by mosquitoes and ticks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that mosquito, tick and flea bites have more than tripled in recent years.

Just thinking about these pests makes our skin start to crawl…

Mosquitoes and ticks are more than just itchy and annoying. If infected, these pests can pose a major health risk to people by possibly transmitting diseases. According to the American Mosquito Control Association there are 176 known species of mosquito in the U.S.—putting Americans at risk from coast to coast. And while mosquitoes may be the most obvious detractor from summer fun – ticks are silent but dangerous. It is important to also be vigilant against blacklegged ticks, more commonly known as deer ticks, especially if you live in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, North-central or Northwest.

Bug bites and blood donations

The Red Cross tests donated blood to help prevent the transmission of illnesses through blood transfusions, utilizing state-of-the-art nucleic acid testing to help ensure each blood product is as safe as possible for patients. We only collect blood from donors who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation. We also provide a call back number if the donor develops any symptoms of disease within the next several days following donation. Donations from such donors are not used for transfusion.

Help prevent mosquito and tick bites this summer:

  • Use insect repellents containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) when you are outdoors. Be sure to follow the directions on the package.
  • Consider staying indoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and tuck your pant legs into your socks or boots.
  • Use a rubber band or tape to hold pants against socks so that nothing can get under clothing.
  • Tuck your shirt into your pants. Wear light-colored clothing to make it easier to see tiny insects or ticks.
  • When hiking in woods and fields, stay in the middle of trails. Avoid underbrush and tall grass.
  • If you are outdoors for a long time, check yourself several times during the day. Especially check in hairy areas of the body like the back of the neck and the scalp line.
  • Inspect yourself carefully for insects or ticks after being outdoors or have someone else do it.
  • If you have pets that go outdoors, spray with repellent made for their breed/type. Apply the repellent according to the label and check your pet for ticks often.
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying sources of standing water outside of the home, such as from flowerpots, buckets and barrels.

For more tips and information about how to keep the bugs from biting this summer download the free Red Cross First Aid App. You’ll be so glad you did!

Want to feel twice as good? Become a blood donor and help a patient in need. Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. In thanks, all those who come to donate blood or platelets now through June 10, 2018, will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Suburban Propane. (Restrictions apply; see amazon.com/gc-legal. More information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Together.)