The Aedes mosquitoes are a frequent visitor to Southern California, arriving as the weather warms and staying through much of the summer.

Mosquitoes can transmit a number of serious diseases including West Nile virus, so it’s important for senior citizens to take precautions and stay safe in order to protect their health.

What’s the best way to help your loved one to avoid mosquito bites?

Here’s some expert advice from the Department of Public Health:

Mosquito Bite Prevention Outdoors

Outdoor activity is fun and healthy, and it’s always a great idea to encourage your loved one to take an afternoon walk or spend a little time in the sunlight to soak up that vitamin D. However, use caution when spending time outdoors if mosquitoes are around, especially at dawn and dusk. Encourage the senior to wear socks and shoes, a light material, long-sleeved shirt and long cotton pants if they’ll be outdoors for longer periods of time. This reduces the risk of exposure, leaving less skin available for a mosquito to bite.

DEET and Other Mosquito Repellants

For any exposed skin, consider using a high-quality mosquito repellant. There are many store bought brands containing DEET that are quite effective, but some seniors also have luck with more natural varieties such as lavender oil, lemon eucalyptus oil or thyme and cinnamon. Use caution when choosing a brand, and always consult with your physician to ensure there isn’t potential for interactions between any medications your loved one is taking and the mosquito repellant.

Evening Exercise and Mosquito Bites

If your loved one enjoys outdoor exercise, encourage them to avoid getting sweaty outdoors in the evening hours and especially the two hours immediately following sunset when mosquitoes are most active. Mosquitoes are attracted to heat and sweat, so if you’re exercising when they’re active, there’s a good chance you’ll get bit. Morning exercise or early evenings before the sun goes down are better choices this time of year.

Mosquito Prevention at Home

Another very effective way to reduce opportunities for mosquito bites is to make sure the area around your home is not a good breeding ground for the insects. Here are a few tips for accomplishing that.

Reduce or eliminate standing water by disposing of tin cans, plastic containers or other similar water-holding containers.

Remove leaves and debris from your loved one’s yard promptly.

If you have potted plants, drill holes in the bottom of the pots so that water does not stand for too long.

Make sure roof gutters are draining properly and away from the house.

If you have plastic wading pools, wheelbarrows or standing water in fountains in your yard, turn them upside down when not in use, and ensure they remain clean.

If you have a swimming pool or hot tub, keep it clean and chlorinated

Use proper landscaping to eliminate standing water in your yard, and keep it maintained or hire a company to help you with this chore.

Mosquitoes love to buzz around and disrupt summertime fun, and they can also pose health hazards for your senior loved one. Salus Homecare of San Gabriel Valley reminds you to encourage your loved one to stay safe by following these simple steps. Working together, you can make summer evenings more fun, relaxing and safer too.