Spring has arrived, and with it comes mosquitoes and ticks. These critters are not only a nuisance but can also pose serious health hazards. So the Department of Health is reminding the public of steps they can take to protect themselves from exposure and to help eliminate potential breeding sites.
Residents can do their part to control mosquito populations by emptying flower pots and other containers of standing water; replacing birdbath water regularly; cleaning clogged gutters; covering un-rimmed tires or recycling them at a tire business; regularly cleaning swimming pools and/or tightly covering them; and ensuring trash and recycling container lids fit tightly. The Department’s mosquito control program also works to treat and eliminate potential breeding sites and places traps to collect and test mosquitoes for disease throughout the county.
Mosquitoes can transmit various diseases, including West Nile virus, LaCrosse Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Most people who become ill will have mild symptoms like headache, fever, dizziness and fatigue, but severe neurological symptoms, coma and even death may occur. Contact your health care provider if you experience any of the symptoms described after being bitten by mosquitoes.
Mosquitofish, which can be used in ornamental ponds and water gardens to eat mosquito larvae and pupae, will be offered to the public in early June. Contact the Department’s Vector Control program at 449-7459 for more information on availability and proper use.
The Department of Health also recommends residents use EPA-registered insect repellent with active ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD) or 2-undecanone. Wearing pants and tucked-in long-sleeve shirts and applying repellent to clothes and exposed skin when outside will prevent bites from both mosquitoes and ticks. To prevent ticks from crawling up pant legs, tuck them into socks.
Ticks – which can sometimes transmit serious and potentially fatal diseases like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis and Tularemia – are found in grassy, brushy areas where they wait for a host to pass by. Many of the diseases transmitted by ticks can be treated effectively when caught early, so see your doctor right away if you have a fever, rash or flu-like symptoms after being in tick-infested areas. Residents living near grassy and wooded areas should create a three foot-wide barrier of stone or mulch between their yard and those areas.
Visit allencountyhealth.com for more information.