OSWEGO – With the summer now if full swing, the Oswego County Health Department is reminding people to protect themselves from mosquito bites to guard against diseases such as Eastern equine encephalitis and West Nile Virus.
“These viral infections can cause serious illness such as severe headache, high fever, disorientation, seizures, brain swelling or, in some cases, death,” said Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang. “The best defense we have from these viruses is to use our personal protection measures to guard against mosquito bites. This means using insect repellent properly, wearing protecting clothing, limiting outdoor exposure when and where mosquitoes are most active and minimizing their populations around your house and property.”
Insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus are effective but should be used with care.
Repellents containing permethrin are meant for clothing and gear and should not be applied directly to the skin.
Also, repellents containing DEET should not be applied to skin under clothing.
Read the product label and use according to package instructions.
Another protective measure against mosquito bites is to limit outdoor activities in areas where mosquitoes are most active and between dusk and dawn which is the peak mosquito biting time.
“We understand that keeping away from the outdoors is not always practical. If you have to be outside, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes and socks as weather permits,” said Huang.
Other precautions people can take to minimize mosquito populations in and around their homes and properties are to repair or replace all window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside, and reduce or eliminate all standing water.
These preventative measures include:
• Dispose of old tires which are a significant mosquito breeding site. Used tires are accepted at Oswego County transfer stations. There is a minimum $10 disposal fee. Contact the Oswego County Solid Waste Department at 591-9200 for details.
• Empty or dispose of pails, cans, flower pots, or similar water-holding containers.
• Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors.
• Clear roof gutters and be sure they drain properly.
• Turn over wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs and drain pool covers.
• Change the water in birdbaths and horse troughs twice a week.
• Remove leaf debris from yards and gardens and clean vegetation and debris from the edge of ponds.
• Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.
For more information about protecting your family against mosquitoes, call the Oswego County Health Department at 315-349-3547 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3547, or visit the New York State Department of Health Web site at www.health.state.ny.us