This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
Summer season is the time to beware of the buzzing, biting menace of mosquitoes.
Carson City Health and Human Services’ Environmental Health Division is working to combat the threat of mosquitoes and the dangerous infection they may carry — West Nile Virus. The largest efforts this year have been helicopter treatments around the Anderson and Silver Saddle ranches and along the freeway. The larvicide the Health Department used for these treatments, which took place in June, kills larvae of mosquitoes before they start biting, without harming other beneficial insects or wildlife. Spot treatments of standing water areas around town are ongoing to keep mosquitoes in check, and sampling continues as part of the effort to locate mosquitoes that are infected with West Nile Virus.
West Nile Virus, which can cause illness in humans and horses, is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Already this year, positive mosquito pools have been found in Douglas County, and more recently in Washoe County and Carson City. Many people who are infected with West Nile Virus have no symptoms.
However, about 20 percent of those who are infected experience symptoms similar to the flu, and a few people develop severe illness that may include neurological symptoms or even death.
Dustin Boothe, Carson City Epidemiologist, strongly urges individuals to practice preventive measures.
“Use repellent containing DEET and wear long sleeves, pants and socks when outside, especially during dawn and dusk. Also, remove any standing water from around your house and check to make sure your window screens fit properly.”
It is important that you take steps to protect yourself and your family from West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne infections:
Remove standing water, which provides a good habitat for mosquitoes.
Eliminate piles of yard waste or debris where water can collect.
Repair or replace screens over windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
Repair leaky outdoor faucets to keep puddles from forming.
Treat swimming pools regularly to keep them from becoming mosquito habitat.
Any time you are outdoors, but especially at dawn and dusk, cover up as much as possible with long pants and long sleeves.
Wear bug repellant to keep mosquitoes away.
Marissa Ure, Environmental Health Specialist, wants people to be safe, but also to have fun.
“Don’t let mosquitoes deter you from having a fun, active summer,” she said. “Be smart and take precautions, but get out there and enjoy all the great outdoor opportunities our area has to offer.”