Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Keeping Safe During the Mosquito Season

Late last week a positive test of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a horse was found in Georgetown, which prompted the town’s threat level to be raised to critical and nearby communities to be elevated to high (Boxford, Groveland, Newbury, Rowley, and West Newbury). It has been recommended by the Department of Public Health that outdoor events should conclude by dusk for the remainder of the mosquito season.

Due to the height of mosquito season being upon us, it is extremely important to take measures in protecting yourself and your family from mosquito borne illnesses like EEE and the West Nile Virus (WNV). Here are some measures you can take to lower your risk of being bit by an infected mosquito:

Avoid Mosquito Bites

• Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535 according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.

• Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning.

• Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home

• Drain Standing Water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.

• Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

For more information concerning the positive results of WNV and EEE please click here. Posted below are two fact sheets on WNV and EEE, and a mosquito risk map provided by the Department of Public Health. Eastern Equine Encephalitis West Nile Virus Fact Sheet