Lowering risk of mosquitos

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jessica L. Berends
  • 92nd Medical Group

With spring upon the Inland Northwest, more people will be heading out to explore and enjoy the great outdoors. These warmer months and longer days not only bring fun in the sun, but also set up a great environment for the breeding of a nasty pest, mosquitoes.

Public Health is conducting surveillance during the months of May to September using mosquito traps. Please do not be alarmed if you see these traps around the base, they will be easily identifiable with a label that will include our office contact number. These traps will both help identify which type of mosquitos are found on the base, as well as detect any disease they may be carrying.

Mosquito-borne diseases of concern that can be found in Washington State include: West Nile Virus, Western Equine encephalitis and St. Louis encephalitis. Here are some steps that can be taken to lower the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.

  • Empty anything that holds standing water - old tires, buckets, plastic covers and toys.
  • Change water in your birdbaths, fountains, wading pools and animal troughs at least twice a week.
  • Recycle unused containers that may collect water - bottles, cans and buckets.
  • Make sure roof gutters drain properly and clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall.
  • Wear long sleeve shirts, long pants and a hat when going into mosquito-infested areas, such as wetlands or woods.
  • Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets.
  • Check doors and window screens for holes through which mosquitoes can enter the house.
  • If possible, avoid the outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, from dusk until dawn.
  • Use mosquito repellent when outdoors and remember to always follow the label instructions for application. Use repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon, eucalyptus or IR3535 on your skin and permethrin on clothing. Consult your doctor for the best repellent for infants and small children.
  • Use mosquito netting over infant carriers, strollers or playpens.

For pet and animal concerns: Heartworm is the major disease concern in regards to cats and dogs being exposed to mosquitoes. Ensure pets complete an annual heartworm test and are on a monthly preventative is the best way to prevent this disease. West Nile Virus and Western Equine Encephalitis are diseases horses should be vaccinated against.

For additional information about mosquitoes, mosquito-borne disease and proper use of insect repellent, check out the Center for Disease Control site or the Washington State Department of Health site:
http://www.cdc.gov/Features/stopmosquitoes/index.html https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/faq/repellent.html