By SC Johnson Professional
World Mosquito Day, August 20, is a commemoration of the historic discovery that female mosquitos transmit malaria between humans, laying the foundation for scientists all over the world to better understand mosquito-human disease transmission.
In lieu of celebrating the pesky pest that leaves us itching, World Mosquito Day aims to raise awareness of malaria and other mosquito-human disease prevention across the world.
Here in the U.S., roughly 1,700 cases of malaria are diagnosed annually – the vast majority of which are from travelers who have come from countries where malaria transmission is more prevalent. These include Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where more than 200 million new cases are reported each year.
In addition, the U.S has seen an increase in yet another mosquito-borne illness over the past decade – West Nile virus – with more than 2,600 cases in 2018. And although less common in the U.S., mosquitos can also spread dengue fever, yellow fever, chikungunya and Zika virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to avoid a mosquito-borne disease such as West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites. But that’s easier said than done, especially for those who work outdoors during summer months when there is an increase in the number insects.
Bites are also difficult to avoid because insects find humans so naturally enticing. They are attracted by our body heat, the lactic acid we emit when we perspire, and even the carbon dioxide we exhale.
So, what’s a facility that employs outdoor summer workers to do? Offer employees protections in the form of insect repellants such as OFF!® Deep Woods® and encourage its daily use. If you don’t already offer your outdoor summer workers protections from mosquitos, here are some tips on how to start:
- Make insect repellent with DEET or Picardin readily available to all outdoor employees and encourage them to apply it to exposed skin, as well as clothing. Why clothing? Because mosquitos can bite through clothing that’s not woven tightly enough.
- Where appropriate, outdoor workers should wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, socks and hats, and treat their clothing and gear with permethrin (an insecticide).
- To provide extra protection, encourage outdoor employees to apply both sunscreen AND insect repellent, but be sure they apply sunscreen first. Both sunscreens and repellants are more effective when used separately and tend to have different re-application requirements.
For more information on SC Johnson Professional’s OFF!!® brand, visit https://off.com/en/product.
Want to learn more about insect repellants?