BATON ROUGE, La – Mosquito bites are not only itchy and annoying, they can cause serious illnesses. Although rare, diseases like West Nile virus, Zika or encephalitis are caused by mosquito bites. And, the Louisiana Department of Health reports a high number of mosquito pools statewide have tested positive for West Nile virus in recent weeks.
The most effective way to prevent these illnesses is to not get bitten in the first place. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana reminds everyone to take steps to avoid mosquitoes.
“Don’t be fooled by a mosquito’s tiny size – they are the deadliest animal in the world,” said Blue Cross Medical Director Dr. Larry Simon. “The World Health Organization estimates that a million people die every year from illnesses they contracted through mosquito bites.”
Mosquitoes breed in standing water, and with Louisiana’s wet, humid climate, swarms are common, especially in the summer months. “These insects are not just pests, they can make you very sick,” Dr. Simon said. “Make sure you’re preventing mosquitoes from getting into and around your home. And, when you’ll be outdoors, take precautions to fight the bite.”
Steps to Avoid Mosquito Bites:
• Once a week, empty, scrub, turn over, or cover items around your home that hold water such as tires, buckets, pools, flower pots, and planters
• Use an outdoor insect spray or bug zapper device that kills mosquitos in places they rest, such as in dark areas, under patio furniture, and under carports or garages
• Keep mosquitos out of your home by using window and door screens and using air conditioning when available
• When sitting outdoors, use portable fans so air circulates and keeps mosquitoes from landing and biting
• Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants outdoors – bugs typically bite arms and legs
• Use an EPA-registered insect repellent that is proven safe and effective
If you have a mosquito bite that looks red or infected, or if you have symptoms of mosquito illnesses like fever, body aches, or rashes without another known cause, see your health care provider.
For more summer health tips, visit bcbsla.com/Summer or watch Blue Cross’ animated videos on Water Safety (:30) and Sun & Heat Safety (:30).
Follow Blue Cross on social media @BCBSLA to see original graphic designs, videos and other messages sharing information about summer health and safety. Blue Cross posts regularly on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and TikTok.
Visit the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana YouTube channel to see short videos on summer health tips and other wellness topics. Subscribe to know when new videos are added.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We have been recognized for the past four years as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at www.bcbsla.com or talk to us on social media @BCBSLA.
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