Protection From Insects

Mosquitoes

There are a variety of diseases that may be spread by mosquitoes. It is always advisable to take preventive measures to protect yourself. For more information about mosquito borne diseases and protecting yourself go to: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/dtopics/mosquitoborne/

 

Ticks

A variety of diseases may be spread by ticks in Minnesota. The majority of tick-transmitted diseases result from the bite of an infected blacklegged tick (also known as the deer tick). Protecting yourself from ticks is very important. For more information about specific tick borne diseases and protecting yourself go to: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/dtopics/tickborne/index.html

 

Bed Bugs

What are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are parasites that feed on the blood of humans. They are also able to feed on dogs, cats and other pets. They typically bite on the head or neck but can also bite arms, legs and hands. They live close to where people sleep, rest or sit for long periods of time. They are active at night and hide during the day. After they are done feeding (it only takes a few minutes), they move quickly to a hiding spot.

Adult bed bugs are oval, flattened, brown and wingless. They look similar to a wood tick.

How do I know if I’ve been bitten by a Bed Bug?

People can be bitten without realizing it, and bite reactions may range from a small red spot to a more severe rash or hives.   Sometimes the bites will follow a linear path along the arm or leg.

Where do Bed Bugs live?

Bed bugs are found mostly in homes and hotels, but can also be found in schools, offices, libraries and other public areas. The greatest risk for encountering bed bugs is while you are traveling, so it always a good idea when staying in a hotel room to check it over for bed bugs.

They usually cluster in out-of- the -way places:

  • Box springs, mattresses, bed frames
  • Furniture such as desks and chairs
  • Behind wallpaper, clocks and pictures
  • Cracks in the wood or under carpet

How do I get rid of Bed Bugs?

It is highly recommended that you seek professional assistance from a pest control company or exterminator to rid your home of bed bugs. Over-the-counter insecticides are not effective in controlling bed bugs, and can be dangerous to those living in your home. Exterminators use special heat treatments to kill the insects and prevent re-infection.

If you suspect bed bugs may be infesting your home call the Minnesota Bed Bug Hotline:
612-624-2200 or 1-855-644-2200.

You may also find more information about bed bugs on the links below from the University of Minnesota:
http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/dtopics/pests/bedbugumn.pdf

 

Lice

What are head lice?

These tiny insects make their home in human hair and feed on blood. They multiply rapidly, laying small greyish-colored, oval shaped eggs, called nits, which they attach to the base of the hair with a glue-like substance.

Myth: Head lice have wings and can fly or jump! This is of course false, but lice can crawl or run through the hair quickly!

Fact: Anyone can get head lice. They are not a sign of living in a dirty environment.

How does someone get head lice? 

Most commonly head lice are spread through direct head-to-head contact. They may also be spread by sharing personal items with an infected person, such as combs, hair ties, hats and pillows.

How will I know if my child has head lice?

A frequent sign of head lice is a persistent itching of the scalp which sometimes is accompanied by infected scratch marks or rash-like appearance. Also look closely for nits along the hairline at the back of the neck and behind the ears. Nits are strongly attached to the hair near the scalp. They cannot be flicked off like dandruff or pieces of hair gel. If you have questions about the diagnosis of head lice, call your doctor!

Treating head lice

The recommended treatment for head lice is either an over the counter (OTC) or prescription medicated (lice-killing) product. The important thing to remember about any treatment you choose is to follow the directions carefully on the package label! The OTC should be repeated in 7- 10 days and all nits removed after each treatment.

If someone in your family is diagnosed with head lice it is important to check everyone else for head lice who lives in the house. It is also very important to clean up the environment, focusing on the areas and items that the infected person had contact with in the last 48 hours.

Myth: Head lice can live on pets in the home, like cats or dogs. This is not true, head lice can only live on humans and cannot survive off the human body for more than two days.

Fact: Head lice is a nuisance, but can be easily treated when carefully following the recommendations from your doctor.

For more information about head lice and treatments visit the Minnesota Department of Health website:

http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/headlice/headlice.html