Not only do pesky mosquitoes cause itchy bites, they can also transmit a number of diseases.
West Nile Virus may cause a fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash, although only about 1 in 5 people infected ever show symptoms. More rarely, it can develop into a serious, sometimes even fatal illness.
Zika virus made headlines two summers ago because of the outbreak in Brazil that led to a high number of babies born with microcephaly, a birth defect that causes an abnormally small head. Many adults infected with the virus do not experience any symptoms, but some develop a fever, rash, joint pain or red eyes three to 12 days after a bite. The CDC reports there have been just over two dozen cases of Zika in the U.S. so far this year, all brought in by travelers.
Other mosquito-borne diseases include dengue, chikungunya, and malaria, though they are not common in the United States and are often found in less developed parts of the world.
Mosquitoes like to breed in standing water, so it’s important to empty containers that collect water in or around your home, including buckets, vases, pool covers, trash cans, and discarded tires. Mosquito repellent can help you avoid being bitten, and so can wearing long sleeves and long pants while outside. Screens on doors and windows can help keep mosquitoes out of a home, and using air conditioning helps too, as mosquitoes do not like cooler temperatures.