Summer – A Great Time for Outdoors Fun…and Mosquito Precautions!
Mosquito bites can be harmful in several ways. The most common complication occurs in the form of allergic reactions to the bite and infections related to scratching. However, mosquito bites can also result in the transmission of life threatening conditions such as encephalitis. Encephalitis is a severe inflammation of the central nervous system structures such as the brain and spinal cord. Unless rapidly diagnosed and treated, encephalitis can result in severe permanent neurological damage, multiple organ failure and death.
There are several types of viral encephalitis that can be transmitted by different mosquito species: West Nile Encephalitis, Saint Louis Encephalitis, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Malaria and Dengue. Symptoms of West Nile virus may include headache, fever, fatigue, dizziness, weakness and confusion. Please contact your physician immediately if you, your child or any family members have any of these symptoms.
The best way to maintain optimal health is by practicing PREVENTION.
Here are the 5 “D”s and 1 “S” tips that will help you avoid mosquito-related health conditions:
Dusk and Dawn – Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are seeking blood, for many species this is during the dusk and dawn hours.
Dress – Wear clothing that covers skin, made of cotton or any other light materials. Long pants and long sleeved shirts are recommended
DEET – When the potential exists for exposure to mosquitoes, repellents containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, or N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) are recommended. Products with concentrations up to 30% DEET are generally recommended for most situations. (It is not recommended to use DEET on children less than 2 months old. Instead, infants should be kept indoors or mosquito netting used over carriers when mosquitoes are present). If additional protection is necessary, apply a permethrin repellent directly to your clothing. Always read the manufacturer’s directions carefully before you put on a repellent, and do not apply more times than recommended.
Drainage – Check your home to rid it of standing water in which mosquitoes can lay their eggs and larvae can grow.
Screens – Make sure that windows remain closed or are sealed completely by screens at night.
Encourage children to play outdoors in breezy areas avoiding peak hours for mosquitoes. Be creative. Provide fun and creative play alternatives for children to stay indoors during rainy days.
PREVENT MOSQUITOES BREEDING BY OBSERVING THE FOLLOWING SUGGESTIONS:
Clean out eaves, troughs and gutters
Remove old tires or drill holes in those used in playgrounds to drain
Turn over or remove empty plastic pots
Pick up all beverage containers and cups
Check tarps on boats or other equipment that may collect water
Pump out bilges on boats
Replace water in birdbaths and pet or other animal feeding dishes at least once a week
Change water in plant trays, including hanging plants, at least once a week
Remove vegetation or obstructions in drainage ditches that prevent the flow of waterPhysicians should contact the County Health Department if they suspect an individual may have a mosquito-borne illness. The Department of Health provides testing services for physicians treating patients with clinical signs of mosquito-borne disease.
West Nile Virus Hotline: 1-888-880-5782