Are mosquitos going to kill me?
June 11, 2004 8:55 AM   Subscribe

Are mosquitos going to kill me? (More inside.)

I've recently been spending a lot of evenings outside, enjoying the humid but nice enough weather in northeast Kansas (Lawrence, specifically). After something like 4 hours outside last night, I came home with mosquito bites (and probably some other miscellaneous bites) all over. If I don't scratch them much, they'll be gone by morning, so it's not the bites themselves that I'm at all worried about.

In this part of the country/world, what diseases might a mosquito give me? Will subjecting myself to mosquito bites daily cause any harm? I have skin allergies, but mostly just to dyes and other mysterious chemicals, but the reaction to the bites looks totally normal. Do I have anything to worry about?
posted by katieinshoes to Health & Fitness (14 answers total)
West Nile virus. Then again, you're in Kansas, which only reported 91 cases last year. I wonder why Colorado got hit so much worse. My fiance got meningitis as a complication last year from it.

Be careful, and wear some bug spray with DEET in it.
posted by littlegirlblue at 9:08 AM on June 11, 2004

Encephalitis is always a concern but, again, Kansas has extremely low (if not null) numbers of Encephalitis infections, too.
posted by Danelope at 9:28 AM on June 11, 2004

and wear some bug spray with DEET in it.

or citronella, a more natural alternative.
posted by rhapsodie at 9:41 AM on June 11, 2004

posted by Grod at 9:50 AM on June 11, 2004

Or if you have sensitive skin, use garlic pills instead of DEET (and don't use too much DEET either way).
posted by jmd82 at 10:10 AM on June 11, 2004

Where are you hanging out? I've been to Lawerence countless times and never had a mosquito problem. I've also been camping several times an hour south of KC down 69, near a large body of water and never experienced a mosquito problem.

I just didn't think that Kansas' harsh winters, and relatively dry summers made for good mosquito breeding grounds. Also if you noticed, there are no trees in Kansas, making it hard for birds to travel and mosquitos to pick West Nile from them.

Anyway I'd be more afraid of ticks as I get them a lot, and I know people who have/had lyme disease. Oh and I can't go out anywhere in Kansas without getting legs and arms covered in chiggers.
posted by geoff. at 11:29 AM on June 11, 2004

Response by poster: geoff, maybe mosquitos just don't like you. Because they love me, all over Kansas. And there are plenty of trees here in the student ghetto. Lack of landscaping maintenence = absolute jungle = tons of bugs.

I have never picked up any ticks here in town (camping, on the other hand...). Not many problems with chiggers, either, unless I actually lay down in the grass. Skeeters are my only problem this season.
posted by katieinshoes at 11:42 AM on June 11, 2004

According to some doukhobour women I met in eastern BC, don't eat bananas. Mosquitos love bananas.

There seem to be a lot of options for avoiding bites. Perhaps this is the way to go, "when all else fails--get a frog".

When I hit hefty mosquito filled area I use DEET. Talk about natural alternatives all you want, but there's nothing that works as well on mosquitos and deerfly. And horsefly. And every other hungry bug in the Canadian wilderness. All DEET, all the time, every time.
posted by Salmonberry at 4:27 PM on June 11, 2004

"Are mosquitos going to kill me?"

The Magic 8-Ball says "Yes, definitely".

I'm sorry to have to be the one to break it to you.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:43 PM on June 11, 2004

Best answer: Salmonberry, it actually turns out that the "fight the mosquitoes" link was some e-mail thing that was making the rounds, but Snopes says, "If we had a frog, we'd be tempted to drop it down the back of whoever wrote this".

Besides removing sources of stagnant water where mosquitoes can breed, the only really reliable advice is "do not wear dark clothing, perfume or lotion. Long sleeves and long pants provide the best protection against insect bites. Mosquito repellents containing DEET are the most successful." Oh, and don't sweat.

As for mosquito danger in your part of the country, here's the CDC's list of mosquito-borne diseases. If you click on any of the links, most of them will have a map somewhere in the sublinks. Here's a page of Updated reports of West Nile Virus in Kansas.
posted by taz at 12:22 AM on June 12, 2004

taz - I added it cause I was sure that the frog thing was a joke, I don't know anyone in mosquito country who carries a frog. Did it really take Snopes to disprove that?

But what about the bats? BATS! Bats eat mosquitos. Take bats with you! Bats don't carry any diseas......oh. Never mind. Ixnay on the Atsbay.
posted by Salmonberry at 2:15 AM on June 12, 2004

Not really the frog thing - that was just a joke in both cases, but the advice to use Bounce Fabric Softener, or vanilla, or vitamin B-1, don't eat bananas, etc.
posted by taz at 4:38 AM on June 12, 2004

I can't believe those little old ladies lied to me. They LIED!

Ah well.

*hugs her little DEET bottle*
posted by Salmonberry at 1:25 PM on June 12, 2004

Salmonberry, don't you know that you should never trust the advice of little old ladies regarding insects?
posted by taz at 11:09 PM on June 12, 2004

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