The do’s and don’ts of protecting your family this mosquito season

NEW YORK — Nobody likes mosquito bites and that’s why Ayesha Ahmad uses insect repellent to protect her three children.

“We are fairly diligent if we are going to be out for a prolonged period of time.”

But avoiding those pesky mosquitoes can be tough. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended EPA approved insect repellents containing deet, picaridin, IR 35-35, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or 2-undecanone.

“Many of these repellents are safe for use in children and in pregnant women.”

Dr. Neha Vyas  of the Cleveland Clinic said mosquitoes can attack anytime of day, so if you are going to be outdoors for a while, wear long sleeves, pants and socks, or clothes treated with the chemical permethrin.

While most mosquito bites are just annoying, they can carry serious viruses like West Nile and Zika, so it’s critical to be on the look out for certain symptoms in the weeks after being bitten. Signs of mosquito-borne illness can include fever, joint pain and headache.

Dr. Vyas said you should see a doctor right away if you get sick after a bite and he cautions to avoid scratching – because it will only make the bite itch more.

“You don’t know what kind of bacteria reside under your nails so if you scratch that area you could potentially cause an infection worse than the bite. You can apply a cold wash cloth or a cold compress.”

To keep mosquitoes at bay from the start, make sure you clean any standing water in and around your home so they don’t have a place to breed.