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Risks of Mosquito Bites & How to Prevent Mosquito Bites

Mosquito Repellent

Avoiding West Nile, Zika & Other Deadly Diseases

When we hear or see a mosquito, our normal reaction is to be on the defense – ready to strike at any moment. And it’s no wonder. Mosquitoes are more than just pests whose bites leave itchy welts behind. Worldwide, mosquitoes have infected more people than any other living organism, leading to over 1 million deaths a year. Two of the most well-known mosquito-borne viruses that are cause for concern in the US are West Nile virus and Zika virus.

West Nile came on the US radar about 20 years ago, though it had been plaguing Africa, Europe and Asia for much longer. The Zika virus reached global recognition about 3 years ago. Both viruses are classified as “flaviviruses” – a family of diseases transmitted by ticks or mosquitoes – and both originated in Africa. West Nile is spread by 65 species of mosquitoes, and Zika is spread by 2 species.

In both viruses, the majority of those infected do not show symptoms. But those that do generally have the same ailments: fever, headache, fatigue and body aches. The Zika virus can also cause rashes and bloodshot eyes. The more serious complications from these viruses are vastly different. West Nile has been linked to meningitis and encephalitis, and can cause long-term paralysis. Zika is less of a threat to the general population, but can cause severe birth defects.

In addition to spreading through mosquito bites, each of these viruses can be passed from a pregnant mother to her unborn child. Unfortunately, there are no vaccines yet for either of these viruses. The best way to protect you and your family is through mosquito prevention.

The West Nile virus is the most widespread of these two diseases, with infected mosquitoes in every US state. And according to the CDC, North America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and West and Central Asia are all infected with West Nile Virus.  There are still no known local mosquito transmissions of the Zika virus in the US, but travelers to most of South America and Africa, and India, Pakistan, and other South Asian countries should be aware of affected areas. The CDC’s list is continually updated and can be viewed here.

People who are over 50 years of age are most susceptible to the West Nile virus, while women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant are most at risk for Zika.

How to Avoid the Virus

Preventing mosquito bites is essential to protecting yourself from these serious illnesses. The best way to do this is to cover up with long sleeves and pants, and always take precautionary measures when going outside. Use insect repellent and reapply as directed. A good tip for sunny days is to put on sunscreen first, then apply the spray. If you will be outside for long periods, look for products with higher active ingredient percentages. These will last longer and require fewer reapplications.

There are also products that naturally repel the mosquitoes from your area without being applied to your skin. Try our mosquito repellent incense sticks. These sticks release a pleasant scent of lemongrass, lemon peel, and rosemary for up to 2 hours, naturally driving mosquitoes away.

Another great natural product is our mosquito bands. Perfect for kids and families on the go, these wrist bands contain natural oil capsules with mosquito-repelling scents that offer 700+ hours of protection.

When you are geared up with the right products, protecting yourself and your family from mosquitos can be a lot more manageable.  

Statistics & Facts Sourced from: Medical Daily,

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