This column appears in the Nevada Appeal’s Tuesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
We are happy that the drought is over, but with all the extra water around Carson City, it’s important to be aware that there is sure to be an increase in mosquito activity this summer.
Mosquitoes need water to reproduce. An adult female mosquito lays her eggs in the water. After a few days, the eggs hatch and mosquito larvae emerge. The larvae live in the water and eventually turn into a pupa. It can take as few as two days in the pupal stage before emerging from the water as an adult mosquito. The best way to eliminate mosquitoes: eliminate the water.
While we can’t get rid of all the water in Carson City, homeowners can certainly help to reduce mosquito populations around their homes by removing any standing water. For larger bodies of water around our community, Carson City Health and Human Services’ Environmental Health Division annually carries out a program to seek out and eliminate mosquitoes. Carson City Health and Human Services’ Environmental Health Specialists have already conducted large mosquito abatement treatments around the city, with additional treatments planned for the remainder of the summer.
Although most everyone hates the itchy welts left by their bites, mosquitoes are not just annoying pests. They can spread a number of diseases to people, pets and livestock. Keeping yourself, your family, and your pets safe from mosquito-borne diseases is a public health concern. While the Zika virus is not present in Northern Nevada, West Nile Virus, which can be a serious illness, has been found in our area.
Besides removing standing water, there are things you can do in and around your own home to keep mosquitoes away.
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 when mosquitoes are most active,” he said.
Follow these tips to keep mosquito populations in check:
Remove standing water from around your property. If you have a water source for pets, a kiddie pool, or other “purposeful” standing water, empty and refill it every few days to prevent it from becoming a mosquito breeding area. Consider adding fish to backyard ponds to eat the mosquito larvae, or treat water features with a commercially available mosquito-control product according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Treat swimming pools regularly to keep them from becoming mosquito habitat.
Eliminate piles of yard waste, trash, and debris where water can collect.
If you are going to leave your windows and doors open for ventilation, be sure that the screens are in good repair to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
Repair or replace leaky outdoor faucets to keep puddles from forming. Mosquitoes need only a very small amount of water to breed.
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 repellent to keep mosquitoes away. Products containing DEET are most effective, but other options are available.
Fight the bite of mosquitoes this summer. To report areas with high mosquito activity, contact Boothe at 775-283-7220. For information about other Health Department services, visit our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org, or “Like” us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/CCHHS.