Because summer is a time for playing in ditches, lakes and nearby woods it is always advisable to protect your child from ticks and mosquitos that carry diseases like Zika, West Nile virus and Lyme disease.
The best way to prevent infection of West Nile virus is by staving off mosquito bites. Take steps to control mosquitos by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants and using insect repellent that contains one of the following ingredients: DEET, Picardin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), Para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undercanone* (www.cdc.gov/westnile/prevention/index.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fwestnile%2Ffaq%2Frepellent.html.) Make sure to reapply as needed and come inside if mosquitos start swarming.
*Several of these ingredients are not recommended for children under the age of three so make sure to read instruction labels and warnings before applying to babies or young children.
There are some practical landscaping tips for minimizing ticks in your recreational zones.
- Get rid of dead leaves
- Place a 3-foot wide barrier of gravel or chips between lawns and woods to prevent tick migration into yards
- Mow frequently
- Stack wood in a clean, dry area
- Build fences to keep unwelcomed animals out of your yard
- Remove debris or trash in the yard where ticks can hide
- Trim and maintain a moderate height for bushes
If you find a tick on you or your child, the CDC recommends immediate removal. There are steps listed on their website explaining the process and symptoms to look for in the following days. Visit, www.cdc.gov/ticks/removing_a_tick.html.