OSWEGO – With summer soon upon us, the Oswego County Health Department reminds people to protect themselves against mosquito-borne 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 Jiancheng Huang, public health director for the Oswego County Health Department. “The best protection from these viruses is to guard against mosquito bites.”
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.
“It isn’t always practical to keep away from the outdoors. 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.
• Disposing of old tires which significant mosquito breeding sites. 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 disposing of pails, cans, flower pots, or similar water-holding containers.
• Drilling holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors.
• Clearing roof gutters to be sure they drain properly.
• Turning over wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use.
• Cleaning and chlorinating swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs and draining pool covers.
• Changing the water in birdbaths and horse troughs twice a week.
• Removing leaf debris from yards and gardens and cleaning vegetation and debris from the edge of ponds.
• Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.
To learn more 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