Spending more time outside walking, hiking and enjoying all that San
Diego offers is the perfect way to start 2017 living well. But just
as important as improving your health is making sure you are also
living safely. So the next time you head out on an outdoor adventure
remember to take some simple steps to protect yourself from mosquitoes
Mosquitoes can carry and transmit vector-borne diseases such as West
Nile Virus and the Zika Virus, but there are things that you can do to
help reduce the mosquito population and protect your body from
receiving unwanted mosquito bites.
- Eliminate mosquito breeding areas around your home.
Mosquitoes can breed in a half inch of standing water. Dump standing
water in trash cans, old tires, garden equipment, toys and birdbaths
- Apply an insect repellant that contains either DEET,
picardin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 to exposed skin or on
top of clothing. Always follow product instructions. Parents should
apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes and
- Wear light-colored long sleeve shirts and long pants
to cover your skin when outdoors.
- Avoid going outdoors
during dawn and dusk hours when mosquitoes are most active and
looking to feed.
The San Diego County Environmental
Health Department’s Vector Control Program routinely monitors
and works to control mosquito populations.
Ticks can carry and transmit vector-borne diseases such as
tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease. The Vector
Control Program routinely collects, identifies and tests ticks for
these diseases. Ticks typically crawl up stems of grass or perch on
the edges of leaves on the ground with their front legs extended to
climb onto a potential passing host.
To protect yourself from ticks while enjoying the outdoors:
- Walk in the center of trails and avoid wooded and brushy areas
with high grass and leaf litter.
- Use repellents that
contain DEET on exposed skin and clothing for protection that lasts
up to several hours.
- Use products that contain permethrin
on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks
and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin. It remains
protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is
available and may be protective longer.
- Bathe or shower as
soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours)
to wash off and more easily find ticks that might be crawling on
- Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or
full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from
tick-infested areas. Parents should check their children for ticks
under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button,
behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially
in the hair.
- Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the
home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so
carefully examine pets, coats and day packs.
- Tumble dry
clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry
clothing after you come indoors.
- If the clothes are damp,
additional time may be needed.
- If the clothes require
washing first, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium
temperature water will not kill ticks effectively. If the
clothes cannot be washed in hot water, tumble dry on low heat
for 90 minutes or high heat for 60 minutes. The clothes should
be warm and completely dry.
With these tips, you can still enjoy the great outdoors and keep
yourself and those you love safe.
For more information about the Vector Control Program, please visit