With summer weather beginning, people are spending more time outside. Unfortunately, they are not the only ones. Summer is peak season for many pests, including mosquitoes. You might have already been feeling the itch from a few bites this year. While mosquitoes can be very annoying, it’s important to remember that they may also carry diseases. Not all kinds of mosquitoes carry the same diseases. Mosquitoes commonly found in Ohio are more likely to carry West Nile virus, La Crosse virus, Eastern equine encephalitis virus and St. Louis encephalitis virus. Cases of these mosquito-borne diseases are reported in Ohio every year.
Later this summer, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) will again be collecting and conducting surveillance of mosquitoes in our area to determine which viruses are present. Results from the collection will be shared on ODH’s website. Henry County Health Department monitors the results and will push out further information as it becomes available.
In the meantime, you can take action and protect yourself from mosquitoes and the diseases they carry by following three simple words: Avoid. Plan. Stop.
Avoid mosquitoes and mosquito bites
•Use EPA-registered insect repellents with active ingredients, such as DEET or picaridin, and follow the label directions.
•Try to avoid outdoor activities from dusk until dawn or take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing during this time if you are outside.
Plan ahead for mosquitoes while traveling
•Visit www.cdc.gov/travel to find out if you are traveling to an area with Zika or other disease-related travel notice.
•Speak to your doctor about your travel plans and measures you can take to reduce your risk of mosquito-borne diseases.
•Pack appropriately to protect yourself from mosquitoes by bringing insect repellents, appropriate clothing and mosquito netting if sleeping outdoors or in unscreened structures.
Stop mosquitoes from breeding in and around your home
•Reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home by discarding and emptying water-holding containers like tin cans, plastic jugs or ceramic pots. Also, remove all old tires from your property.
•Make sure roof gutters drain properly. Clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall.
•Use “mosquito dunks” to treat water in containers that are too large to empty, such as birdbaths, rain barrels, koi ponds or any place where water collects and stays for periods of time. These are available at many garden and home improvement stores.
•Keep mosquitoes outside by installing or repairing screens on windows and doors.
Because of the recent coronavirus pandemic, we are all aware of how to stop the spread of germs. Now is a good time to remember how to stop the bite. Henry County Health Department wishes you and your families a safe and happy summer!