It’s hot and sticky outside, which means South Florida is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. In fact, the Florida Department of Health has issued a mosquito-borne illness alert for Miami-Dade County after confirming that 10 more people have contracted the West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne illness infection. This brings the total number of cases this year to 14.
There are no vaccines or medications to prevent or treat the West Nile virus. Most people infected with the virus do not feel sick. However, about 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms such as headache, pain, and fatigue. Symptoms usually appear between two and 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. People with mild illness typically recover within about a week.
When it comes to protecting yourself against pesky mosquitoes and mosquito-borne viruses, be sure to take these important steps:
-Use insect repellant with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or IR3535
-Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants outside
-Drain and cover any objects that collect standing water, such as garbage cans, house gutters, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected.
-Discard other items that can collect water, such as old tires, bottles, etc.
-Clean clogged gutters
-Fill-in low-lying areas on your property that collect water
-Repair broken screens on windows, doors, porches and patios
-Keep your swimming pool clean
-Try to avoid going outdoors during the early morning hours or at dusk, which are peak mosquito times
Review tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to prevent yourself and your family from mosquito bites. Stay safe and mosquito-free this summer!