This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday’s 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. We had a wetter winter this year, leaving more water for mosquitoes to reproduce. Carson City Health and Human Services’ Environmental Health Specialists will be conducting abatement treatments around the city throughout the season.
Public Health officials are working to fight the threat of these troublesome insects and the dangerous infections they might carry. West Nile Virus, which can cause illness in humans and horses, is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. 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 a mild flu with fever, nausea, body aches, skin rashes, headache and tiredness. These symptoms tend to show up between three to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. While most West Nile Virus infections are mild, some people will develop a more serious infection called West Nile Encephalitis. The symptoms of this disease include high fever, a stiff neck, confusion, coma, tremors and occasional paralysis. If you develop any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
There are things you can do in and around your own home to protect yourself and keep mosquitos from reproducing. 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 so mosquitoes cannot enter your home.”
It’s important 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, from around your property.
Eliminate piles of yard waste or debris where water can collect.
Repair or replace screens over windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
Repair leaky outdoor faucets to keep puddles from forming.
Treat swimming pools regularly to keep them from becoming a mosquito habitat.
Any time you’re 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.
For information on mosquito prevention and West Nile Virus, visit www.cdc.gov/features/stopmosquitoes/index.html and www.cdc.gov/westnile.
For information about resources, programs, and services provided by Carson City Health and Human Services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org, “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cchhs, follow us on Twitter at @CCHealthEd, call us at 775-887-2190, or visit us at 900 E. Long St. in Carson City.