Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Sting of Summer -- Take a Bite Out of Mosquito Myths

FL Note: Whether you're out and about enjoying our numerous parks, pools, concerts, or just back yard barbeques, we know everyone thinks about mosquitoes--- maybe just at the time you have to slap your arm or leg-- but think about them we do.......

ARA – When it comes to summer most of us can’t wait to hit the beach, hike local nature trails or even lounge in the backyard. In fact, according to the OFF! PowerPad survey, adults say they and/or their families plan to attend a barbecue (73 percent), watch fireworks (59 percent), attend outdoor concerts (33 percent), go camping (28 percent) and go to amusement parks (32 percent) this summer.

With so many families spending time outdoors, it’s important to stay protected from unplanned summer mishaps. In fact, adults named insect-related (25 percent) concerns like stings, bites and contracting the West Nile virus from infected mosquitoes among their top protection concerns during the summer.

Are you one of the 78 percent of adults who believe in over a dozen mosquito myths, like eating garlic will repel mosquitoes? Even if the answer is no, you may want to rethink your summertime protection rituals as the OFF! PowerPad survey reveals several common mosquito myths.

MYTH #1: Eating bananas will attract mosquitoes, while eating garlic will repel them.
Although 14 percent of adults believe one or both of those myths to be true, changing your diet will not protect you against mosquito bites. Nor will rubbing yourself with fabric softener sheets -- another common home remedy that 14 percent of adults believe to repel mosquitoes. Using a personal insect repellent is a proven method to protect against mosquitoes.

MYTH #2: Citronella candles effectively repel mosquitoes.
Traditional citronella candles only repel mosquitoes up to one foot, although 85 percent of adults believe citronella candles are somewhat to very effective. If you are looking for an area repellent that will keep your guests protected during a backyard barbeque, the easy-to-use OFF! PowerPad Lamp & Lantern both protect an area equal to 225 square feet (the average size of a deck or patio), which is 15 times greater than a citronella candle/bucket.

MYTH #3: Both male and female mosquitoes bite.
Female mosquitoes ‘bite’ because they need the protein from the blood of humans and animals to develop their eggs. It may shock the 20 percent of adults who believe that both the male and female mosquitoes bite, and that the male mosquitoes do not have a biting mouth that can penetrate human skin.

MYTH #4: Kids are at the most danger of getting sick from West Nile Virus, a disease carried by mosquitoes.
People older than 50 years old are at the highest risk for developing severe West Nile disease, but it is always a good idea for children to avoid mosquito bites. Twenty-five percent of adults agree, as they are concerned about protecting their families from insect-related mishaps, such as bites, stings or contracting the West Nile virus from infected mosquitoes. In 2007, mosquitoes were blamed for causing more than 3,500 cases of the West Nile virus across the United States.

MYTH #5: Insect repellents with a higher percentage of DEET will repel more mosquitoes.
Fifteen percent of adults believe that an insect repellent with 5 percent DEET compared to one with 15 percent DEET last the same length of time, but the repellent with 15 percent DEET repels more mosquitoes. The truth is that the more DEET a repellent contains, the longer time it can protect you from biting insects.

Continue to fight the bite by applying the truth of these debunked myths to your summer activities. The next time you throw a backyard barbeque, you’ll be prepared to protect your guests from those pesky uninvited guests. For more information on how to combat mosquitoes, visit

Courtesy of ARAcontent

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My biotech company has had encouraging results treating West Nile virus encephalitis since 2003: 81% treatment success rate in people (22 of 27), 75% in horses (6 of 8), and 50% in birds (6 of 12).

Our approach works best when people first have symptoms of a fever and headache. But we’ve been able to help people even a few years after the initial episode of WNV encephalitis.

Our first 8 WNV patients were published in a peer-reviewed medical journal in 2004 (1). We’re eager to see if our approach works again this year.

The drugs we use are already approved by the FDA for blood pressure. They seem to be anti-inflammatory, too. People with a normal immune system who get sick from the West Nile virus appear to overdo their immune response to the virus. Our approach is meant to gently calm down their exaggerated immune response, the so-called “cytokine storm.” It can be used in the very old, the very young, and everybody in between.

It can also be used for almost any virus except the herpes viruses, which is why our approach was included in the BioShield II Act of April 28, 2005, co-sponsored by Senators Lieberman, Hatch, and Brownback. The bill was never debated, but our approach was mentioned in Section 2151 ( In 2004, I briefed the White House and the Dept of Homeland Security about it. The UN is aware of our approach in the context of bird flu, although they haven’t tested it, preferring to push Roche’s drug Tamiflu instead.

Although our approach looks quite useful, the CDC has refused to collaborate with us since early 2004. State public health authorities, taking their cue from the CDC, tell reporters that they’ve never heard of us, or that they don’t believe our data, which is neither professional nor helpful. Public health authorities used to run clinical trials. Now they merely test blood samples.

The CDC has become like the Hanes lady. Nobody dies of WNV unless the CDC says they did. The CDC’s total lack of interest in testing a promising treatment boggles the mind. What public health has become over the last 50 years is a sad story in itself.

On the other hand, in classical American fashion, the vacuum in public health represents a business opportunity.

The drugs we use cost about $1 a tablet. We use one or two pills a day. They’re carried in every drugstore on earth. We don’t sell the tablets, we just sell the license to use them. But we have no great illusions that we’ll be able to collect license fees for such short-term use. Frankly, this is a colossal loss-leader for us: equivalent to AOL’s handing out free Internet hours.

But it this treatment works, it will be a pretty sweet deal for public health, which is GenoMed’s main goal.

Anybody who wants to download our WNV trial protocol can do so for free at any time by clicking on the "West Nile trial" link on our company’s homepage at

Incidentally, contrary to popular belief, the people who get sick from West Nile have unusually strong immune systems, not "weakened" ones. Only if you're taking chemotherapy or Prednisone is your immune system “weak.” Otherwise, you should hope for no cytokine storm when WNV comes around.


1: Moskowitz DW, Johnson FE. The central role of angiotensin I-converting enzyme in vertebrate pathophysiology. Curr Top Med Chem. 2004;4(13):1433-54. PMID: 15379656 (For PDF file, click on paper #6 at: -- see Table 2 for WNV patients

Sincerely yours,
Dave Moskowitz MD FACP
CEO, GenoMed, Inc.
“The public health company™”
Ticker symbol: GMED (on the Pink Sheets)