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Health Department Notes

Protect Yourself from Mosquitoes this Summer Mosquitoes are a common insect in Kentucky, particularly in the warmer months. Besides being a nuisance, some mosquitoes are known to carry disease. You should take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from potential exposures that might occur through the bite of an infected mosquito.

The Woodford County Health Department advises to avoid mosquitoes. Areas of standing water are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Homeowners can prevent mosquitoes from breeding near their homes by eliminating all areas of standing available water. Even the smallest puddle of water is a potential breeding site for mosquitoes, including those that spread disease each year.

The Woodford County Health Department urges all residents to continue prevention efforts throughout the summer season by utilizing the following tips in and around their homes.

• Survey property for areas of standing water and eliminate mosquito breeding areas by removing water as it accumulates.

• Aedes species mosquitoes, a known carrier of disease, may breed in containers as small as a bottle cap. Destroy or dispose of tin cans, old tires, buckets, unused plastic swimming pools, or other containers that hold water.

• Check your yard weekly for water filled containers. Throw away or recycle containers that aren’t needed.

• If empty containers must be kept, make sure to store them by covering or otherwise preventing water from accumulating in them.

• Clean and scrub bird baths and pet watering dishes weekly and dump water from overflow dishes under potted plants and flower pots.

Ensure that gutters are not holding water and cover rain barrels with tight screening so that mosquitoes cannot enter.

• Fill tree holes with sand or soil.

Aedes species mosquitoes are known transmitters of numerous viruses such as the Zika virus, dengue, chikungunya, West Nile Virus, and eastern equine encephalitis. They are also transmitters of dog heartworm parasites and will bite pets as well as humans. Aedes are actually quite small, and dark in color with white stripes and bands on the legs. They are aggressive daytime biters, with peak biting times during the early morning and late afternoon. These mosquitoes have a short flight range, meaning if encountered in your backyard, they likely originated there.

All Kentuckians are encouraged to take an active part in reducing mosquito populations around their homes by eliminating potential breeding sites and protecting themselves when conducting outdoor activities. The health department strongly advises all residents to follow these recommendations to prevent mosquito bites:

• Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants.

• Stay in places with air conditioning or that use screens to keep mosquitoes outside.

• Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellents such as DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. When used as directed, these repellants are safe and effective, even for pregnant and breast-feeding women. Always follow directions, and reapply. Apply sunscreen first and then insect repellent if using both.

• Do not use insect repellents on babies under two months of age, instead, dress your baby in clothing that covers the arms and legs, or cover crib, stroller, or carrier with mosquito netting.

• Treat clothing and gear with permethrin. Do not use permethrin directly on your skin.

For further information regarding Aedes mosquitoes and the diseases they may transmit, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/zika.

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