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Avoid Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Most everyone is delighted when warm weather returns. Swimming, biking, hiking, and other outdoor activities are so enjoyable ... and would be more so if only those bothersome mosquitoes would leave us alone! Besides the irritation of their bites, there is also the danger of their transmitting disease, such as the West Nile virus, St Louis Encephalitis, LaCrosse Encephalitis, and others.

The following tips can help reduce the possibility of being bitten:

Prevent mosquitoes from breeding

  • Throw away or bring indoors anything that can collect water, such as old tires, cans, buckets, uncovered jars, and toys.
  • Drill drainage holes in tires used as swings.
  • Drain and scrub birdbaths, pet dishes, and kiddy pools at least once a week. Refill them with clean water.
  • Empty water from saucers under potted plants and trash baskets.
  • Clean gutters, flat roofs, and air conditioner drains frequently.
  • When watering lawns or gardens, avoid leaving puddles behind.
  • Drain or use dirt to fill stagnant water pools, puddles, and drainage ditches around the house.
  • Eliminate water-holding tree stumps.
  • Fill holes in trees.
  • Keep fish, such as goldfish, in ponds and water gardens to eat mosquito larvae.
  • Store boats so they will not collect water.
  • Turn over wheelbarrows.
  • Maintain pools and hot tubs with proper chemicals and filtration.
  • If you use covers over a pool, hot tub, or boat, remove any water trapped on the covers after each rain.
  • Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets so water does not collect.
  • Keep grass and weeds mowed, especially on banks next to water, to reduce resting places for adult mosquitoes.

Protect yourself and your family

  • Minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and shoes and socks.
  • While mosquitoes are present, use insect repellent containing DEET (except on infants or pregnant women) when you go outdoors. Be sure to use the repellent according to package instructions.
  • Keep windows and door screens tight-fitting and in good repair.

Most mosquitoes do not carry viruses or cause illness. In addition, most people who are bitten by an infected mosquito will not become sick. However, anyone who does become ill after being bitten by a mosquito should consult a physician.

If you would like more information about West Nile virus or other mosquito-transmitted diseases, please call the Environmental Health Division or visit the Georgia Division of Public Health web site at www.health.state.ga.us

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