Protect Yourself From Mosquito-Borne Diseases

For more information on mosquitoes, visit the MDPH website

By taking a few common-sense precautions, people can help to protect themselves and their loved ones.

The Town of Lexington works with the East Middlesex Mosquito Control Project to control mosquito populations on public land in Lexington. Residents can also do their part to avoid mosquito bites and eliminate mosquito breeding areas.

Avoid Mosquito Bites

Be aware of peak mosquito hours
The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning. Otherwise, take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing.

Clothing can help reduce mosquito bites
Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.

Apply insect repellent when you go outdoors.
Use a repellent with:

  • DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide)
    Should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children.
  • Permethrin
    Should not be applied to skin - intended only for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear 
  • Picaridin (KBR 3023)
  • IR3535
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)]
    Should not be used on children under three years of age.

Use repellents according to the instructions on the product label. To learn more about applying repellents or how to dress properly, you may also visit the Mass. Department of Public Health (MDPH) webpage titled “Mosquitoes and Ticks – they are out in Mass”   

Mosquito-Proof Your Home and Yard

Drain Standing Water
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or getting rid of items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently. 

Install or Repair Screens
Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Mosquito-Borne Diseases

West Nile Virus (WNV)

Approximately 80% of people who are infected with WNV will have no symptoms at all. Approximately 20% of those infected will have symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or skin rash. Less than 1% of people infected with WNV will develop severe illness, including encephalitis or meningitis as demonstrated by high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation and muscle weakness. If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Form more information, visit the MDPH webpage on WNV.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)

EEE is a very rare but serious disease caused by a virus which is spread by mosquitoes. Since the virus was first identified in Massachusetts in 1938, fewer than 100 cases have occurred. Over 60% of those cases have been from Plymouth and Norfolk counties.

For more information, read the MDPH factsheet on EEE.

Zika

The kinds of mosquitoes that are known to carry Zika virus are generally not found in Massachusetts. At this time, it is extremely unlikely that someone would become infected with Zika virus from a mosquito bite in Massachusetts. 

For more information, read the MDPH factsheet on Zika.

For more information on mosquitoes and mosquito control, please contact the Office of Public Health, Gerard Cody, REHS/RS, Public Health Director at 781-698-4503 or gcody@lexingtonma.gov.