Get Healthy: Buzz off! Carson City combats mosquitoes

This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.

Summer season is the time to beware of the buzzing, biting menace of mosquitoes. Mosquito activity has been low so far this year as a result of the ongoing drought. However, here in Nevada’s capital, we have had a wetter-than-normal July, and that means standing water around your home may provide a place for mosquitoes to breed.

Although most everyone hates the itchy welts left by their bites, mosquitoes are not just annoying pests. They can spread a number of diseases to people, pets and livestock. Keeping yourself, your family, and your pets safe from mosquito-borne diseases is a public health concern. That’s why Carson City Health and Human Services is pleased to share this important information about steps you can take to minimize your risk from mosquitoes.

Carson City Health and Human Services’ Environmental Health Division is working to combat the threat of these troublesome insects and the dangerous infections they may carry, including West Nile Virus. West Nile Virus, which can cause illness in humans and horses, is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Many people who are infected with West Nile Virus have no symptoms. However, about 20 percent of those who are infected experience symptoms similar to the flu, and a few people develop severe illness that may include neurological symptoms or even death.

Dustin Boothe, Carson City epidemiologist, strongly urges individuals to practice preventive measures.

“Use repellent containing DEET and wear long sleeves, pants and socks when outside, especially during dawn and dusk. Also, remove any standing water from around your house and check to make sure your window screens fit properly so mosquitoes cannot enter your home,” he said.

It’s important you take steps to protect yourself and your family from West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne infections:

Remove standing water, which provides a good habitat for mosquitoes.

Eliminate piles of yard waste or debris where water can collect.

Repair or replace screens over windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.

Repair leaky outdoor faucets to keep puddles from forming.

Treat swimming pools regularly to keep them from becoming mosquito habitat.

Any time you’re outdoors, but especially at dawn and dusk, cover up as much as possible with long pants and long sleeves.

Wear bug repellent to keep mosquitoes away.

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