Lily Akings advises that everyone should follow Center for Disease Control & Prevention recommendations to prevent cases of these diseases:
Avoid mosquito bites
• Use insect repellents when you go outdoors. Apply insect repellent sparingly to exposed skin. The more DEET a repellent contains the longer time it can protect you from mosquito bites. Choose a repellent that provides protection for the amount of time that you will be outdoors. Whenever you use an insecticide or insect repellent, be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for use, as printed on the product.
• When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors.
• Place mosquito netting over infant carriers when you are outdoors with infants.
• Consider staying indoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening, which are peak mosquito biting times.
Mosquito-proof your home
• Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes outside. Use your air conditioning, if you have it.
• Help reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths on a regular basis.
Avoid direct contact with ticks
• Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
• Walk in the center of trails.
Repel ticks with DEET or Permethrin
• Use repellents that contain 20 – 30 percent DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) on exposed skin and clothing for protection that lasts up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.
• Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and remains protective for up to 70 washings.
Find and Remove Ticks from Your Body
• Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.
• Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas. Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.
• Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs. Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks.
Although the calendar says late September, weather has continued to be summery with continued heat and moisture. These conditions have prolonged the flea and tick season and with them, continued the risk of West Nile Virus and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Barton County Health Department is warning local residents that we are not out of the woods yet.
Area residents are advised to be vigilant in preventing mosquito and tick bites this fall, said department Director Lily Akings. West Nile Virus and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are illnesses that can be serious.
West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans from the bite of an infected mosquito. From 3-14 days following the exposure, a person can develop mild to severe symptoms ranging from nausea, vomiting, body aches and a skin rash to high fever, coma, convulsions, paralysis, or vision loss, lasting for several weeks or with some permanent neurological effects.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever, a tick-borne disease caused by a bacterium, is a potentially fatal disease in humans. It is transmitted through the bite of infected ticks (American dog tick, Rocky Mountain wood tick, and brown dog tick). Typical symptoms include fever, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting, and muscle pain, and may be accompanied by a body rash.