Mosquitos–they’re one of nature’s minor annoyances that, in some cases, can lead to serious health problems. With COVID-19 top of mind for many Americans, some have expressed concerns about whether those tiny, flying blood-suckers could actually play a part in spreading the disease.
Is this something worth worrying about on your next camping trip? Let’s take a closer look.
Can Mosquitos Spread COVID-19?
No, according to current research.
Presently, the World Health Organization says there is no evidence that mosquitoes can spread COVID-19 by biting you. While we can use blood tests to detect COVID-19 and its antibodies, it doesn’t appear that a mosquito that bites someone with coronavirus can spread it to someone else.
Researchers came to this conclusion after several 2020 studies, including one conducted in Wuhan, China, where health officials believe the virus originated.
What Diseases Can Mosquitoes Spread?
Unfortunately, even if mosquitoes don’t spread COVID-19, they can spread some diseases, a few of which are severe or even deadly.
These include malaria, yellow fever, chikungunya, dengue, West Nile virus, and zika. Your animals are also at risk, as mosquitoes can transmit heartworm in dogs and encephalitis in horses.
How Can You Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites?
You can prevent mosquito bites in various ways, depending on your particular circumstances.
The easiest way may be to use an EPA-approved mosquito repellent. These repellents (which include those that use DEET) are safe and effective for all users, even pregnant or breastfeeding women. Apply repellent before you head outdoors, if possible. Waiting a few minutes lets the spray fully dry and take effect. It’s good practice to keep repellent with you at all times on your outdoor adventures, especially if you live in mosquito-prone areas.
Most mosquito repellents are safe for children, but there are also stickers and bracelets that are gentle on the skin and work to repel mosquitoes.
While repellent may be the best and easiest method, you can also take other steps to protect yourself. At home, remove standing water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your yard. You can also construct screened-in areas to enjoy the outdoors while blocking out the bugs. On the go, wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants when the weather allows it.
There are also numerous other methods with less scientific backing that you may find effective, such as avoiding scented skin products and sweating as little as possible.
What Is the Best Way to Prevent the Spread Of COVID-19?
The single best way to prevent getting COVID-19 and spreading it to others is to get your COVID-19 vaccine!
U.S. health officials have currently authorized three vaccines for use in the United States: Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson. These vaccines underwent rigorous clinical testing over the past year before receiving their emergency use authorization from the federal government. This means they’re all believed safe and effective at preventing severe COVID-19 illness and significantly reducing the potential to spread the virus asymptomatically.
These vaccines are free and widely available at local hospitals, pharmacies, and other vaccination sites.
For those who can’t or have not received the vaccine, the best methods to prevent the spread of COVID-19 involve physical distancing and mask-wearing. Unvaccinated people should try to maintain six feet of distance between themselves and others outside their households, especially when indoors.
Health officials also recommend wearing a mask when you’re in close contact with others. They also suggest wearing it when indoors for an extended period while somewhere that isn’t your home.
In general, wash your hands often, which may not only help prevent COVID-19 but also reduce the spread of other diseases as well.
Mosquitos can be extremely annoying and transmit serious diseases. Fortunately, COVID-19 is not one of them.
While you don’t need to worry about this particular issue, both COVID-19 and mosquitos can pose serious threats to your health. Use approved mosquito repellents, and get your COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can. Keeping these solutions in mind will help you have a fun, healthy, and safe summer of camping.