5 Ways to Avoid West Nile Virus and Mosquito Bites When Visiting the Sierra Nevada

With all the snow we have had this last winter, it is not surprising that there is an increase in mosquito populations, and the dreaded West Nile Virus. So what do I do when hiking and sightseeing in the Eastern Sierra to protect me and my family from the West Nile Virus?

The first thing I do is protect my lower half by wearing jeans, socks and shoes. This protects me from mosquito bites from the waist down. Then I wear a t-shirt, tucked in so the little buggers don’t get under my shirt. Next, I use a product by Avon called Skin So Soft for my face, neck and ears. This product uses a natural repellant that is less noxious than most.

To protect my torso and arms, I use Cutter backwoods spray. I spray my arms and torso including my t-shirt with overlapping strokes. If you only spray your exposed skin, the mosquitoes will bite you through your shirt.

Next, I try to wash to mosquito repellant off the palms only of my hands in a stream or water source. Don’t wash the repellant off the back of your hands, or you will get bitten there. But by washing the repellant off the palms of my hands, I can eat food later without it being affected by the mosquito repellant.

Using the methods I detailed here, I have pretty much eliminated getting mosquito bites. The only time I get a bite is when I missed an area with the mosquito repellant, so that is why it is important to spray your torso BEFORE you put your daypack on. If you spray your torso with your daypack on, you will get many bites on your back when you take your daypack off for a rest.

On the rare occasion that I do get a mosquito bite, I use a product called Bite Stick to treat to bite. Bite Stick actually denatures the bite with ammonia which removes the itchiness as long as you treat it within 24 hours of receiving the bite.

So use these tips to enjoy the Sierra Nevada like John Muir, Ansel Adams, and Norman Clyde have. Only enjoy it without getting the dreaded mosquito bite and/or West Nile Virus.

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