Itching for mosquito relief in Southwest Louisiana

Itching for mosquito relief in Southwest Louisiana

If you are itching to find relief from swarms of mosquitoes, it could be tough with an unusual jump start in the local mosquito population. But there are ways to protect your skin and property from the pesky insects.

Swatting and slapping mosquitoes is typically a sound of the summer season, but this year that mosquito swatting has arrived much earlier.  It is something J&J exterminator Robert Soileau is fighting.  "We're having not only a warmer winter, but we're also having more rain than we did last year and it's really just making the mosquitoes explode," he said.

Scott Meche lives in south Lake Charles, where an abundance of water and marshy areas surrounds him.  "It's pretty bad," said Meche, "you're gonna get bit a lot, because the mosquitoes are real heavy out here.  You're pretty much using OFF all the time!"

Those bites can leave hard nodules under the skin and an itchy, red area that Dr. Alan LeBato with Lake Charles Memorial Hospital's LSU Family Medicine Residency Program says is your body's natural reaction.  "That's caused by the release of chemicals from the bloodstream as the body tries to fight off the mosquito bite, or reacts to the mosquito bite," said Dr. LeBato.

That itchy irritation can be soothed with topical antihistamines.  "Things like benadryl or calamine lotion with benadryl mixed into it are simple enough to get over the counter and easy to use for any age group," said Dr. LeBato.

If you want to cut down on your exposure to mosquitoes, Soileau says you need to take a good look at your home.  "Eliminate as much standing water as possible, bird baths and if you've got lower areas in your yard, try to make sure they drain properly," said Soileau.

Mosquito repellent sprays can be a temporary fix, but Soileau says more extreme measures, like yard fogging and home misting systems, are the best way to keep the mosquitoes away.  "The warmer it gets and the more rain we get, the worse it's going to be," said Soileau.

With mosquitoes swarming around Meche's neighborhood, he says he is happy to have the power in his hands to make his home a "no mosquito zone."  "As long as we're out here, unless somehow the mosquitoes go away, we're going to be using the mosquito system," said Meche.

Dawn and dusk are the two worst times of day for mosquito exposure. In addition to spraying Deet or OFF, wearing light-colored clothing and long sleeves helps protect your skin from mosquito bites.

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