The Basics: Overview
Spending time together outdoors is good for the whole family. Don’t let bug bites ruin your fun.
Most bug bites are harmless, but some mosquitoes and ticks spread viruses and bacteria that can make you sick. Some of these viruses and bacteria are very serious – and may be deadly.
- Mosquitoes spread viruses like Zika, West Nile virus, chikungunya, Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), and dengue (“DEN-gee”) fever.
- Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are just 2 of the serious diseases you can get from ticks.
The good news is that you can take steps to protect yourself and your family from mosquito and tick bites.
Protect yourself from mosquitoes and ticks.
When you spend time outside, take these steps to protect yourself:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks to cover your skin.
- Use bug repellent (also called bug spray or insect repellent) on your skin and clothing.
- Check everyone for ticks after spending time outside.
- Take a shower after being outside to help wash away ticks.
Protect your pets, too.
- Use a veterinarian-approved tick collar or spot-on repellent on your pets. Dogs and cats need different tick control medicines, so make sure to get the right one.
- Remember to check your pets for ticks.