They bite, they carry deadly diseases, and most of us hate them! But mosquitoes don’t just make you itch – they can infect people, pets, and livestock with serious deadly diseases, such as malaria, dengue fever, West Nile Virus, chikungunya, and yellow fever. With all the recent rain, localized flooding has occurred in many areas and pooling water will lead to more mosquitoes in the coming weeks. Crawford County Public Health cautions residents to take appropriate measures to reduce their risk of infection.
“Avoiding mosquito bites is key to preventing infection from any mosquito-borne disease,” said Steve Jozwiak, Director of Environmental Health with Crawford County Public Health. “This can be a challenge after flooding because it is nearly impossible to remove or treat all the standing water, but it is important to protect yourself.”
How to prevent mosquito bites:
* Use insect repellents when outdoors. Repellents containing DEET, provide longer-lasting protection. (Be sure to follow the instructions on the label.)
* Avoid peak biting hours. Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and through the night. You need to take extra care to use repellents at this time and if weather permits, wear long sleeves and long pants.
* Prohibit entry to your home. Utilize screens in your windows and keep them in good condition to prevent the mosquitoes from entering your home.
* Reduce breeding sites. You can help reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home by emptying containers that hold standing water (buckets, pet water dishes, bird baths, tires, downspouts, etc.) and replacing the water on a regular basis.
“While there are 59 different species of mosquitoes in Ohio that live in specific habitats, they all need standing water to lay their eggs,” explains Kate Siefert, Administrator with Crawford County Public Health. “That is why it is very important to empty containers that hold standing water. Check your gutters for any clogs and debris to eliminate standing water. Kids’ toys may gather water after rainfall so turn them over. Also change bird baths every seven days. Mosquitoes typically enjoy resting in moist shaded areas so we recommend maintaining shrubs, keeping the lawn trimmed, and removing any leaves left behind from fall and winter months. These are just a few of the helpful tips that homeowners can do to help alleviate mosquito breeding grounds and habitats.”