George Rucker's Newsletter June 21, 2016

Another Tuesday is upon us,

Zika virus has been pretty much dominating the news lately, probably because of the Olympics being held this year in Brasil.  Zika isn’t the only bug-borne threat this summer, Dengue is now common in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, with sporadic outbreaks reported in Florida, Hawaii, and Texas.  West Nile virus still infects thousands each year and has killed 1,700 in the U.S. since 1999.  Plus there are tick-borne illnesses like Lyme and Rocky Mountain spotted fever increasing in incidence and range.

It is Zika that has been filling health officials with dread and sending them scrambling to update mosquito-control protocols.  This is due to anyone bitten can become an unwilling and unwitting carrier of the disease. even those not trying to become pregnant need to become vigilant against mosquito bites this season.

Ridding yards of standing water will deprive mosquitoes of their breeding grounds, and not letting grass grow too high will help keep ticks at bay.  Choosing the right insect repellent will prevent bites when other precautions fail.

I subscribe to Consumers Reports and they tested products to see which work best against the Aedes mosquitoes that spread Zika and the Culex mosquitoes that spread West Nile, and the ticks that carry Lyme.  Their findings are:

Three insect repellents qualified as top picks, Sawyer Picaridin (20%), Bens 30% Deet Tick & Insect Wilderness Formula, and Repel Lemon Eucalyptus (30%), Once applied, they are able to ward of Andes and Culex mosquitoes, plus ticks, for at least 7 hours.

Other products worked but for less time, some as little as three hours, so you would apply more.