Mosquito-Borne Disease Prevention
In Texas, mosquito bites are more than just an annoyance. Mosquitoes can transmit diseases that can make you and your family sick. Some mosquito-borne diseases can cause birth defects and others can be fatal. Mosquitoes may become infected when they bite an animal, bird, or person who is infected with a virus or parasite. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the illness to people through bites.
Protect yourself from the health risks of diseases spread by mosquitoes. Take precautions at home or when you travel to areas known to have mosquito-borne illnesses.
The best way to protect yourself and your family is to prevent mosquito breeding and bites. It’s important to be vigilant against mosquitoes, because they can bite day and night and live both indoors and outdoors.
Prevent Mosquito Breeding
Did you know that mosquitoes can breed in as little as a tablespoon of water?
Prevent mosquitoes from breeding on your property by taking these steps:
- At least weekly, empty or remove trash cans, buckets, old tires, pots, plant saucers, and other containers that hold water.
- Keep gutters clear of debris and standing water.
- Remove standing water around structures and from flat roofs.
- Change water in pet dishes daily.
- Rinse and scrub vases and other indoor water containers weekly.
- Change water in wading pools and bird baths several times a week.
- Use mosquito dunks with larvicide for water that can’t be emptied or covered.
- Keep backyard pools and hot tubs properly chlorinated and free of debris.
- Cover trash containers.
- Water lawns and gardens carefully so water does not stand for several days.
- Screen rain barrels and openings to water tanks or cisterns.
- Treat front and back door areas of homes with residual insecticides if mosquitoes are abundant nearby.
- If mosquito problems persist, consider pesticide applications for vegetation around the home.
See the CDC's website on Controlling Mosquitoes at Home for more information.
Prevent Mosquito Bites
Take these steps to protect yourself and your family from being bitten by infected mosquitoes:
- Wear Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. When used as directed, these insect repellents—including those that contain DEET—are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
- Cover up with long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Keep mosquitoes out by keeping doors and windows closed and/or installing window screens.
To learn more about the diseases spread by mosquitoes, see our Mosquito-borne Diseases page.