How Dangerous Are Mosquitoes In Baton Rouge?
July 15, 2021
Did you know that mosquitoes are one of the deadliest insects in the world? The diseases that they spread can be deadly and, at best, detrimental to your health. If you’ve been bitten by a mosquito, then you know that these small pests are quite mighty in the discomfort that their bites can cause. Measuring less than an inch, they buzz around primarily at dusk and dawn, which makes them nearly impossible to detect and avoid. With mosquito season on the horizon, here are a few things to consider when spending time outside in Baton Rouge:
The Dangers of Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are far more than annoying for the itchy, swollen bites that they can create, but they are also one of the most deadly animals in the world due to the diseases that they can transmit. Here are a few important facts that you should consider before you get bitten by a mosquito in Baton Rouge:
Mosquitoes are responsible for over one million deaths per year due to the diseases and viruses they transmit through their bites, according to the World Health Organization. Mosquitoes transmit diseases by feeding off of something that contains a disease or virus, and then they pass the same pathogens on to you during a bite.
Mosquitoes in the United States are carriers primarily for West Nile virus (WNV) and Eastern equine encephalitis. If you have been bitten by a mosquito, take note if you experience any of the following symptoms of West Nile virus: sore throat, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands, and abdominal pain. Did you know that many people contract West Nile Virus and may never know that they’ve had it? And if you’ve been bitten by a mosquito take note if you experience any of the symptoms of Eastern equine encephalitis: joint pain, chills, and fever, which may last approximately two weeks. If you have experienced any of these symptoms and have been bitten by a mosquito, please seek medical care from a professional immediately.
While it is significantly less common in the United States, chikungunya is a disease that has been increasingly prevalent in the Caribbean, which should be brought to the attention of American travelers.
What Attracts Mosquitoes
Did you know that no one is immune to the itchy, uncomfortable bites of a mosquito? It’s true, unfortunately. You will get bitten by the female mosquito, who is hunting for the blood that she needs to lay her eggs. And given that mosquitoes breed at a rapid rate, if you live in Baton Rouge, you are a walking buffet all summer long. That said, there are certain factors that make certain people more attractive to a mosquito’s itchy bites:
Blood type, with type O being the most enticing.
Lactic acid build-up in the muscles, which can come from exercise and activity.
The presence of bacteria on the skin.
It's estimated that genetics account for approximately 85% of the reasons certain people attract mosquitoes and certain people don’t. That said, you can still try your best to prevent their attraction with some of the following tips.
Limiting Exposure to Mosquitoes
Though you may feel that mosquitoes are everywhere in Baton Rouge, there are a few key ways to limit your exposure to them and the irritations and diseases they spread. Here are a few tips to mitigate the presence of mosquitoes on your property and off of your skin:
Always empty out areas of stale water regularly. Nooks such as birdbaths, flowerpots, and pool covers are ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes and a cozy spot for them to congregate. If you don’t allow water to become stale, it will remove the mosquitoes' main home for laying their eggs.
Though it may seem very simple, something like wearing lighter-colored clothing can be a deterrent to mosquitoes. Additionally, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants will limit the amount of skin surface area that is exposed to mosquitoes. Take away their opportunity to latch onto your skin!
As previously mentioned, mosquitoes are buzzing around primarily during dusk and dawn, so aim to minimize the time you spend outdoors around these times.
Insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient (such as DEET) can be effective in preventing mosquito bites. Citronella candles have also been known to deter mosquitoes at backyard BBQs.