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How To Protect Yourself From Mosquito Bites on the 4th of July

Mosquito
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When we went camping recently, my wife got chewed up by mosquitoes. They seemed to leave me alone. Guess she is sweeter than me! The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment says now is a good time to pack mosquito repellent into your backpacks and stock up your supply at home. The good news is that the numbers of Culex mosquitoes, the ones that carry West Nile virus, are still very small.

Early trapping throughout the County shows a small increase in the numbers of Culex. However, this doesn’t mean there’s no risk of being infected. Once a person is bitten by an infected mosquito, symptoms of the illness can appear within 3-14 days, but it may be three weeks later before a lab-confirmed case is reported to the Health Department.

HOW TO PREVENT MOSQUITO BITES

  • Use an effective mosquito repellent when outside between dusk and dawn.   Apply repellent to all exposed skin.  Read the label before applying to adults and to children; depending on the concentration of the repellent, you made need to reapply it after a couple hours.
  •  The Centers for Disease Control recommends using repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (also called p-Menthane-3,8-diol), or IR3535; these repellents have been shown to be effective when used as directed.
  • Eliminate mosquito breeding areas around your home such as containers of standing water, and treat backyard ponds with a mosquito “dunk” or add mosquito-eating minnows to the pond.
  • Empty standing water in bird baths, pools, etc., at least weekly—twice a week when temperatures are over 90 degrees and mosquitoes can grow from eggs to biting adults in only 5 days.
  • Repair all house screens and screen doors.  A blood-seeking mosquito needs only a fraction of an inch gap to enter your home.
  • Direct one or more strong fans at the seating area of your deck or patio.   The brisk breeze makes it harder for mosquitoes to fly nearby and land.

For information on West Nile virus and safe use of mosquito repellents, go to:

larimer.org/health/cd/westnile.asp or fightthebitecolorado.com/

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