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DES MOINES, Iowa — Mosquitoes start coming out in early spring, but a Des Moines specialist says the pesky insects are out in full force during the months of July and August.

Many people may be worried about the troublesome viruses mosquitoes may bring like West Nile, Zika, and Dengue.

Jeff Brock, Mercy Medical Pharmacy Specialist, Infectious Diseases, said West Nile Virus has always been a problem in Iowa, but there are simple things you can do to protect yourself from this disease and others.

“The most common recommendations are deet based insect repellents. They are the most widely studied products and one of the most protective means against pesky bugs,” Brock said.

He said other products with these active ingredients also work well:

  • Deet (20 percent or more)
  • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  • IR3535
  • 2-undecanone (methyl nonyl ketone)

Brock said for kids and babies older than two months put the protectant in your hand and then rub onto exposed areas or use a mosquito net over the stroller.

He added, some of the more popular options like wrist bands or fans are not very effective.

“They really only protect part of your wrist and it gives off this odor. The thought is it creates a halo around the person to protect from mosquito bites. It may reduce the number of bites in a particular area where you are wearing the band, but it’s not going to protect your legs and your back from mosquito bites,” Brock said.

Brock added, if you do get bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile you may not even notice.

“West Nile virus infections are either asymptomatic, patients don’t even know they got infected with it. That’s a majority of the infections. Others just might not be feeling well, might be tired or have a low grade fever that goes away. For people with weaker immune systems, the fever might be more serious and could come with neck pain and it’s important to see a physician right away,” Brock said.