Mos­quito pro­tec­tion in the fall sea­son

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

Although sum­mer is end­ing, hur­ri­cane sea­son con­tin­ues through Novem­ber. This sea­son of­ten brings trop­i­cal storms with heavy rain and flood­ing, which leads to stand­ing wa­ter, a breed­ing ground for mos­qui­toes.

Sum­mer’s dry heat may have killed mos­quito lar­vae, but any eggs left be­hind can sur­vive in dry ar­eas up to eight months, and stay dor­mant un­til the next rain­fall. Items in your yard, such as bird­baths, may have mos­quito eggs in­side. Be sure to scrub bird­baths weekly, as it only takes seven to 10 days for an egg to de­velop into an adult mos­quito. It is im­por­tant to stay vig­i­lant through­out the fall sea­son to pre­vent mos­quito bites and breed­ing.

Pro­tect your­self and your fam­ily by prac­tic­ing the “three D’s”:

Drain: Clean and empty stand­ing wa­ter in lawn fur­ni­ture, chil­dren’s out­door toys, buck­ets, flower pots, clogged gut­ters, wheel­bar­rows, bird­baths, old tires, and tarps. Use mos­quito dunks, a chem­i­cal lar­vi­cide that kills mos­qui­toes in an im­ma­ture stage, in ponds or other ar­eas with stand­ing wa­ter.

Dress: When go­ing out­doors, wear light-col­ored, longsleeved cloth­ing, socks, and shoes. Cover strollers and baby car­ri­ers with mos­quito net­ting. Avoid be­ing out­side early and late in the day — times when mos­qui­toes are fly­ing.

De­fend: Use an En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency-ap­proved mos­quito re­pel­lent with one of the fol­low­ing in­gre­di­ents: • DEET • Pi­caridin • IR3535 • Oil of lemon eu­ca­lyp­tus • Para-men­then-diol Pro­tect your home by en­sur­ing door and win­dow screens fit tightly and holes are re­paired. Use air con­di­tion­ing for heat re­lief in­stead of open­ing doors and win­dows when avail­able. In your yard, tightly cover wa­ter stor­age con­tain­ers, such as buck­ets or rain bar­rels. Also, re­pair any holes or gaps in sep­tic tanks.

Mos­qui­toes carry a va­ri­ety of ill­nesses and dis­eases, de­pend­ing on lo­ca­tion and mos­quito type. The mos­quito-borne Zika virus is specif­i­cally danger­ous to women who are preg­nant or try­ing to be­come preg­nant be­cause it can cause brain dam­age to the fe­tus. The ma­jor­ity of Zika virus cases in the United States have been re­lated to travel in ar­eas of Zika out­breaks, or through sex­ual con­tact with some­one in­fected with Zika. To learn more about Zika, visit the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion (CDC) web­site at http:// wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel.

More in­for­ma­tion on mos­quito pre­pared­ness can be found by vis­it­ing the Charles County De­part­ment of Health web­site at www.CharlesCoun­tyHealth. org, Mary­land De­part­ment of Health and Men­tal Hy­giene web­site at http://phpa.dhmh. mary­land.gov, Mary­land De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture web­site at www.mda.mary­land. gov, or CDC web­site at www. cdc.gov.

Thank you in ad­vance for be­ing proac­tive and do­ing your part to pre­vent mos­quito-borne ill­ness in our com­mu­nity.

Wil­liam Stephens is the di­rec­tor of the De­part­ment of Emer­gency Ser­vices.

Dr. Dianna E. Ab­ney is health of­fi­cer of the Charles County De­part­ment of Health. * The col­umn’s con­tent was pro­vided in part­ner­ship with the Charles County De­part­ment of Health.

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