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Department of Public Health gives tips on preventing illnesses from mosquito bites

Special to the Trussville Tribune

A potential problem exists with mosquitoes during the recovery phase after Tropical Storm Irma and the threat of flooding in the state. The Alabama Department of Public Health continues to advise caution to those who are entering flooded areas. Mosquitoes are one of the problems to be remembered, as they can carry serious diseases such as West Nile virus.

Photo from Wikipedia.

Residents of flooded areas should be particularly careful to reduce their exposure to mosquito bites. Many kinds of mosquitoes are most active during the late evening, night and early morning. If possible, outside activities should be limited during these times.

However, keep in mind that the mosquitoes that carry Zika are active during the day, so even thoughthere has been no known spread of Zika by mosquitoes in Alabama, prevention techniques to reduce exposure to mosquitoes should be followed anytime when going outdoors.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to prevent mosquito-borne diseases is to avoid mosquito bites by following these recommendations

  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 when going outdoors. Follow label instructions carefully when using any insect repellent.  Repellents should not be used on infants less than 2 months old.
  • Wear loose fitting, long sleeves and long pants.
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors.  Use air conditioning, if available.
  • Empty standing water from items outside homes such as flowerpots, buckets, old tires, children’s pools.
  • Clean clogged gutters and clear drainage ditches and pipes of debris.

Mosquito bites can be treated with topical agents such as calamine lotions. Cortisone creams and oral antihistamines are available as over-the-counter medications that can reduce itching. Bites to children should be watched for secondary infections that need to be treated by a physician.

The primary signs of mosquito-borne disease in people are a high fever and headaches severe enough to require medical attention. Other less common signs in addition to fever and headaches include confusion, neck pain and stiffness, and seizures.

For more information on mosquito-borne illness safety, please visit the ADPH Web site at www.alabamapublichealth.gov.

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