A very wet early summer has created ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes, and the parasitic pests have already begun harassing local residents trying to enjoy the outdoors. Marion County Environmental Health Coordinator Cory Frank says mosquito prevention can begin with a little upkeep around your property.
“Eliminate standing water from your yard, or things that can make water stand in it,” says Frank. “Buckets, birdbaths…I know that people love birds, but from an environmental standpoint, we don’t like birdbaths because water sits in them and you can grow mosquitoes there. Those things will help control [mosquitoes] around your property.”
Kim Dorn with Marion County Public Health says there are also things you can do, no matter where you are, to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
“It’s just real important that folks start using mosquito repellent when they’re outside, [and] make sure it has Deet,” says Dorn. “[Wear] long sleeves and try to stay inside during those peak mosquito teams, especially during the early evenings.”
Dorn says one concern with a heavier population of mosquitoes is the possibility of them carrying diseases, like West Nile Virus. If you do get bitten by mosquitoes, though, there is some relief. Don Versluys, pharmacist and owner of Crown Pharmacy in Pella, says there are different products available to help stop the itch.
“Often times if you just have a few bites, you can just dab a little something on there like ‘After Bite’ or even ‘Chiggerid’,” says Versluys. “Those kinds of things of things are good at treating a small area or a few small areas. If it’s a larger area, then you’ll want to go with a cream or lotion,” adds Versluys. “Those spread better, [and] cover better areas. Things like Benadryl Anti-Itch Cream, and Caladryl is a good lotion to use.”
“After Bite” and “Chiggerid” are topical anesthetics, while the creams and lotions often contain histamine blockers for itch relief of larger affected areas.