I was playing golf last night and, without thinking, left the mosquito repellent at home. I spent most of the time out there swatting at the bugs. Needless to say, it didn’t turn out to be one of my more relaxing games.
For those of us who live in warmer climates, the arrival of fall doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be on guard against mosquito bites. Viruses that cause West Nile, dengue fever, eastern and western equine encephalitis, and St. Louis encephalitis are carried by these little pests. Tom Sidway, veterinarian and manager of Texas Department of State Health Services zoonosis control program, states that 30 per cent of the states’ 1,700 West Nile cases from 2002-2006 became ill after August 31.
To reduce the risk of mosquito-borne infection:
- Cover as much skin as comfortable when outdoors.
- Use insect repellents that contain DEET.
- Change water in pet bowls, bird baths, and wading pools several times per week. Drain standing water from around your home.
- Make sure door seals are intact; mosquito-proof your house.
We know that all mosquito bites don’t cause illness, but we need to protect ourselves when we are outdoors.