The importance of insect repellent should be on every parent's mind as the weather warms up. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Monday (May 1st) that there's been a surge in the U.S. in illnesses caused by infected mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas.

The CDC says that climate change may be the leading cause.

Rising summer temperatures and shorter winters can boost the insect population, as well as outbreaks of illnesses they carry. Wait...shorter winters? I don't think South Dakotans are going to believe that one.

The report published Monday said that Zika was the virus that had the largest increase. Another disease that saw a spike in tick-borne Lyme disease. In fact, nine new diseases including Bourbon virus have shown up, which I'm sure is not as much fun as the name implies.

The report additionally identified seven new germs carried by ticks that have been discovered since 2004.

This summer, just as sunblock is important for all of us, a working insect repellent is equally important. As a camping and hiking family, we're always in the woods and forests - with constant "tick checks" on the kids. We've also found that most of the "natural" insect repellants have failed to impress us. We usually found that these do not work as well as the DEET infused brands. We'll save that argument for another day.

The CDC offers these tips on staying safe and preventing these types of illnesses:

*Use an Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellent.
*Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
*Treat items, such as boots, pants, socks, and tents, with permethrin or use permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
*Take steps to control ticks and fleas on pets.
*Find and remove ticks daily from family and pets.
*Take steps to control mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas inside and outside your home.

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