The CDC and Texas Medical Association has shared reports of a rise of West Nile, Dengue, and Chikungynya infections in Texas this season. Dr. Roberta Beals of the Healthy Skin Clinic in Lubbock says “Zika is also a concern when it comes to these pesky pests. We can all take steps to help avoid infection.” To help keep the community safe, avoid mosquito bites and to reduce mosquito populations, such as:
- Regularly applying EPA-registered insect repellent while outdoors.
- Dumping out all standing water inside and outside homes and businesses so mosquitoes can’t lay eggs.
- Using air-conditioning or making sure window and door screens are in good repair to keep mosquitoes out.
- By covering-up skin with long sleeves and long pants to help prevent bites.
DEET (N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) better known as insect repellant has specific recommendations for use from physicians. The more mosquitos you’re exposed to the higher concentration of DEET you need to use. A product containing 10 to 35 percent DEET is adequate in most circumstances, with higher concentrations reserved for situations in which: insect infestation is high, the repellent may be partially washed off, or time outdoors will exceed three to four hours. Microencapsulated formulations are preferred, as these protect longer with lower concentrations of active repellent. DEET should be used carefully and only as directed. It can be used safely by pregnant women and applied once daily to children older than two months of age (Breisch, UpToDate, 2019). Twenty percent picaridin (aka Saltidin) is a good alternative for people who wish to avoid the unpleasant characteristics of DEET and are willing to accept a somewhat shorter-acting repellent. For concerns about their health or information on insect repellants such as Saltidin plant-based alternatives to DEET, people can call or text the Healthy Skin Clinic at 806.790.5964.