Vacation in mosquito-free season is over

Friday, June 26, 2015

Summer has just begun but the vacation is over. Vacation from mosquitoes, that is.

Warm temperatures and wet conditions have taken over from the mosquito-free spring we enjoyed.

A mosquito bite is usually no big deal, but over the past few years, West Nile Virus has found its way into Southwest Nebraska, and in other parts of the country, exotic illnesses such as dengue fever and Chikungunya have appeared.

The City of McCook has begun spraying for mosquitoes and the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department offers tips for keeping ourselves and our families safe from mosquitoes:

Personal Protection

* Ensure all doors and windows fit properly, and are equipped with tight fitting, fine mesh screen.

* White or light colored, loose fitting, long sleeved shirt and pants.

* Minimize outdoor activity during sunrise and sunset when mosquitoes are most active. Mosquitoes can be found in tall grass, bushes, and moist vegetation during the day.

* Equip baby carriages and strollers with fine mesh netting to protect infants.

* Use insect repellent on ankles, wrists, neck and ears; avoid areas around eyes, nose and mouth. DO NOT use on cuts, scrapes or on infants or pets.

* Wash all skin treated with repellent once you have returned indoors.

Homeowner Control Tips

* Get rid of old tires, cans, bottles, jars, buckets, drums, or other containers, or keep them drained. Standing water in clogged gutters can also raise mosquitoes.

* Empty your small toddler-size plastic wading pool weekly and store it indoors when not in use. Make sure your backyard swimming pool is properly cared for while on vacation.

* Repair leaky pipes, outside faucets, and move air conditioner drain hoses frequently. Eliminate puddles created by lawn watering procedures.

* Change water and scrub vases holding flowers or cuttings twice each week -- or grow cuttings in sand; scrub and change water in bird baths twice weekly; empty watering cans and pet dishes daily.

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