WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the rising national threat of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, homeowners must be vigilant about mosquito bite prevention.
DoMyOwnPestControl.com and the National Association of County and City Health Officials offered critical advice for effective mosquito prevention and control.
The most common Zika virus symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes), muscle pain and headache. Pregnant women with Zika risk passing the virus to their unborn child. There have been cases of babies being born with microcephaly (a smaller-than-normal head).
Now is the perfect time to evaluate and improve your current mosquito control efforts.
Reduce the mosquito population: Less mosquitoes in your yard or on your property means there is a much smaller chance of contracting a mosquito-borne disease. To do this, you must break the mosquito life cycle by treating and controlling mosquito larvae, and then treat and control adult mosquitoes in your yard.
- Next, control adult populations by treating the common resting areas and the entire area, including in dense shrubbery and foliage, especially in the shade and on the undersides of leaves. Trim and remove unnecessary foliage.
- Once a week, empty and scrub vases, pet water bowls, flowerpot saucers, discarded tires, buckets, pool covers, birdbaths, trash cans, and rain barrels.
- If standing water cannot be removed, like in a pond or water feature, you can treat these areas with safe mosquito larvae products such as mosquito dunks or briquettes.
- First, remove all possible breeding sites, which is anything that collects standing water, including tires, puddles, lawn ornaments, etc.
Protect yourself: Being vigilant with using and applying mosquito repellents will keep you safe from mosquitoes when you are enjoying time outside, no matter where you are.
- Use an EPA certified repellent, and apply it according to the instructions. The higher the percentage of active ingredient, the more effective and longer the product will work.
- Wear insect repellent containing DEET. Products containing DEET include OFF!, Skintastic, and Cutter.
- If you are also using sunscreen apply sunscreen first and insect repellant second.
Protect your home: Make sure all of your screens, on windows and doors, are in good repair. Mosquitoes love warm weather, so keeping your home cool and air-conditioned can help keep mosquitoes out of your home.
- Use mosquito netting to cover babies younger than two months old in carriers, strollers, or cribs to protect them from mosquito bites.
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air-conditioned or screened-in rooms are not available, or if sleeping outdoors.
- Zika can be transmitted sexually by an infected male. To prevent sexual transmission of Zika, use a condom.
Travel smart: If you must travel to an area known to have active mosquito borne disease outbreaks, try to wear long sleeves and long pants, wear repellent, and bring mosquito nets if necessary. Avoid these areas if possible.