If you traveled to an area where dengue, Zika or chikungunya is spreading, prevent mosquito bites:
- Use insect repellents while you travel and after returning home.
- Wear long sleeves, long pants and socks, especially when outdoors.
- Avoid areas with standing water
Mosquitoes carry a wide range of diseases, and on the Big Island of Hawaii, dengue fever is one of them. This disease is not passed between humans. The only way to catch it is to be bitten by an infected Aedes mosquito, and more than 100 million people are infected each year. This illness is so painful that it’s important to protect yourself from infection.
Preventing Mosquito Bites
Because so many mosquitoes are infected, it’s best for all visitors and residents of Hawaii to avoid all mosquito bites. There are numerous ways that you can protect yourself from both indoor and outdoor bites and still enjoy your time in Hawaii.
Outdoor Mosquito Prevention
To prevent mosquitoes from breeding in the first place, there are a number of actions you can take. Mosquitoes like standing water in which to breed, so get rid of items that could hold water to prevent those breeding grounds. Don’t leave items like empty planters, tires, cans and puddles that can hold water outside. If you can’t bring them indoors or get rid of them completely, turn them upside down. Clean out your gutters to prevent water from standing in them, and look for anything leaking water outdoors. There should be no standing water on your property, including your porch, patio and decking.
Every time you go outdoors, make sure that you are protected from these insects. Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants are best for preventing your skin from being exposed. When hiking, consider tucking your pants into your socks so that no skin on your legs is exposed as you move. Wearing light-colored clothing can help deter mosquitoes, as these insects are attracted to dark clothing.
Spray any exposed parts of your skin with a high-quality insect repellant to further protect yourself. The insecticide you use should contain at least 20% DEET to be effective against these pests. Another type of insecticide that can be effective are those that contain Picaridin. Lemon eucalyptus oil is generally a weak insecticide that may not be enough to keep you protected.
Indoor Mosquito Prevention
Like many insects, mosquitoes can get inside, and they are perfectly at home there. To prevent them from getting inside, make sure that your window screens are in good repair and replace any that have tears. Don’t leave the door open for any longer than is needed for you to go in and out of your home. Indoor insecticides can be used if you have seen mosquitoes inside your home.
Watch Your Surroundings
To avoid mosquitoes, limit your time spent in areas where they breed. Locations that have heavy vegetation, streams, standing water, and damp areas are likely to attract mosquitoes because this is the ideal environment for them to breed. If you must go into these types of areas, take special precautions and ensure that all of your skin is either covered or protected by an EPA-registered insect repellent.