The CDC Just Said You Can't Catch COVID This Way
Although COVID-19 cases continue to spike across the country this summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just clarified that there's one way you definitely can't contract coronavirus in warm weather: From being bitten by mosquitoes or ticks.
You can't catch COVID from mosquitoes
On Friday afternoon, the agency tweeted a linked to its FAQ page, which states, "At this time, CDC has no data to suggest that this new coronavirus or other similar coronaviruses are spread by mosquitoes or ticks. The main way that COVID-19 spreads is from person to person."
The CDC says that person-to-person spread happens primarily in these ways:
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- From people who may or may not be showing symptoms.
According to the National Pest Management Association, "vector pests" like mosquitoes and ticks play a critical role in the transmission of several serious viral illnesses worldwide, including malaria, Zika virus, West Nile Virus and yellow fever. But COVID-19 is different than those diseases. It's caused by a "zoonotic coronavirus" which jumped the species barrier from its original animal hosts to humans. That means that mosquitoes and ticks can't spread it.
Avoiding mosquitoes is still important
Although COVID-19 isn't a risk related to those bugs, it's still important to be vigilant about protecting yourself from mosquito and tick bites. In the United States, they spread potentially serious illnesses like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis and anaplasmosis.
To protect yourself against mosquitoes and ticks,
- Use an EPA-registered insect repellent. These contain ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus. For a full list click here. If you wear sunscreen, apply that first and insect repellent second.
- Wear long sleeves and long pants when outdoors
- Use window screens; ensure they don't have rips or holes
- Regularly empty any sources of standing water indoors or outdoors—those are mosquitoes' preferred breeding places
- After spending an extended period of time outdoors, check your skin for ticks. If you discover one, remove it completely with tweezers or consult your healthcare provider.
How to stay safe from COVID-19
As for protecting yourself against the coronavirus, the best strategies include wearing a face mask consistently, washing your hands thoroughly and frequently, maintaining a social distance of at least six feet from people you don't live with, and avoiding large gatherings (especially bars and indoor parties). And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.
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