MANSFIELD — Spring rains combined with warm weather make conditions favorable for mosquito breeding. Mosquitoes can breed in any standing water that stays around for at least seven days.
“Our main focus is to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne disease,” said Joe Harrod, director of environmental health for Richland Public Health.
Mosquitoes can live indoors and outdoors, and some species bite during the day while others bite at dusk and dawn. Below are some tips to avoid mosquito bites and prevent mosquito-borne diseases:
- If you are outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, be sure to wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes, and socks.
- Wear light-colored clothing, which is less attractive to mosquitoes.
- Use EPA-registered mosquito repellent and apply according to label directions.
- Wear clothing and gear treated with repellent.
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
Richland Public Health officials encourage residents to take precautions to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites and to reduce mosquito breeding sites near your home:
- Recycle all unused tires or make sure they are not holding water. Each tire can become a breeding area for thousands of mosquitoes.
- Eliminate all water-holding containers, such as tin cans and unused flower pots, from your property.
- Eliminate or drain water features or areas on your property where standing water lasts more than seven (7) days.
- Make sure all roof gutters are clean and drain properly.
- Clean and chlorinate pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Keep them empty when not in use and drain water from pool covers.
- Change water in birdbaths weekly.
- Change water in kiddie pools regularly and eliminate standing water that collects around the edges of the pools.
Richland Public Health conducts mosquito trapping and surveillance to know what areas are experiencing increased exposure and to identify the types of mosquitoes present. In addition to trapping, surveillance, and larvaciding, Richland Public Health conducts mosquito spraying, weather-permitting. During the active mosquito season, those spray events are posted every Friday on the Richland Public Health website, Facebook and Twitter.
Don’t forget about ticks
Along with mosquitoes, Richland Public Health encourages residents to be aware of ticks. Ticks are a health concern as they can transmit a variety of diseases including, but not limited to, Lyme disease. There were 233 cases of Lyme disease in Ohio in 2017 (the latest year data is available), a five-fold increase in just five years and an increase of 73 cases in just one year.
Lyme disease symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and a characteristic skin rash called a “bulls-eye” rash. Lyme disease can be treated successfully with antibiotics. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the joints, heart and nervous system and cause life-long health complications.
“People need to be particularly cautious and check for ticks on themselves or their clothing when returning from being in brush or forested areas,” said Harrod. “People who have cats and dogs that go outside need to check their pets for ticks when they return inside the house.”
Information on ticks and the various diseases they can spread is available on the Richland Public Health website, www.richlandhealth.org. There you can learn how to identify, prevent, and safely remove ticks.