Heavy Rain Increases Chance of Mosquito-Borne Illnesses - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Heavy Rain Increases Chance of Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

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Recent heavy rains have increased the amount of standing water around Bay County, which has resulted in a slight increase in mosquito activity.

The Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services has reported one confirmed case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a horse, with onset 8/21/13, for Bay County. This is the first horse to be reported with EEE in Bay County in 2013EEE virus can be transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Many viruses including West Nile, Dengue and Eastern Encephalitis virus are transmitted to humans via mosquito bites. Most people infected with these types of viruses do not get sick. For the small number who do become ill, it can take two to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito before they become sick. Symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, dizziness, and confusion. A person who thinks they may have been infected should see a doctor as soon as possible. Health care providers should contact their county health department if they suspect an individual may have a mosquito-borne illness. Florida Department of Health laboratories provide testing services for health care providers treating patients with clinical signs of mosquito-borne disease.

Officials with the Florida Department of Health in Bay County are emphasizing the importance of residents and visitors protecting themselves against mosquito-borne diseases. The Florida Department of Health advises the public to remain diligent in protecting themselves from mosquito bites by remembering, "Drain and Cover"

DRAIN standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying

  • Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected.
  • Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren't being used.
  • Empty and clean birdbaths and pet's water bowls at least once or twice a week.
  • Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don't accumulate water.
  • Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

COVER skin with clothing or repellent

  • CLOTHING - Wear shoes, socks, and long pants and long-sleeves. This type protection may be necessary for people who must work in areas where mosquitoes are present.
  • REPELLENT - Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are effective.
  • Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.

COVER doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house

  • Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios.

Tips on Repellent Use

  • Always read label directions carefully for the approved usage before you apply a repellent. Some repellents are not suitable for children.
  • Products with concentrations of up to 30 percent DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) are generally recommended. Other US Environmental Protection Agency-approved repellents contain Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. These products are generally available at local pharmacies. Look for active ingredients to be listed on the product label.
  • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin, or onto clothing, but not under clothing.
  • In protecting children, read label instructions to be sure the repellent is age-appropriate. According to the CDC, mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of three years. DEET is not recommended on children younger than two months old.
  • Avoid applying repellents to the hands of children. Adults should apply repellent first to their own hands and then transfer it to the child's skin and clothing.
  • If additional protection is necessary, apply a permethrin repellent directly to your clothing. Again, always follow the manufacturer's directions.

For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit DOH's Environmental Public Health Web site at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/index.html or call the Florida Department of Health in Bay County at 850-872-4455.

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Information provided by the Bay County Health Department