COLUMBUS – This summer, Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Amy Acton, MD, MPH is urging people to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites and the diseases they may carry.
Most diseases in Ohio that are caused by the bite of infected mosquitoes happen between spring and fall since mosquitoes are active during warmer months. The most common diseases spread by mosquitoes in Ohio include West Nile virus and La Crosse virus. There were 65 West Nile virus cases, including six deaths, and 39 La Crosse virus cases reported in Ohio last year.
“If you’re going to be spending time outside, you need to be thinking about prevention and protection,” said Dr. Acton. “Taking simple precautions can prevent potentially serious diseases caused by the bite of infected mosquitoes.”
Being aware of mosquito and mosquito-borne disease activity in your area allows you to take steps to protect yourself and others. Mosquitoes can live indoors and outdoors, and some types bite during the day while others bite at dusk and dawn. Here are some tips to avoid mosquito bites:
• Use EPA-registered repellents when going outdoors according to label instructions
• Wear light-colored clothing, long sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors
• Consider avoiding outdoor activities during peak mosquito biting hours
• Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with an EPA-registered repellent will give extra protection
• Treat clothing and gear such as pants, boots, socks, and tents with a product containing permethrin, or buy permethrin-treated clothing or gear. Do not apply permethrin directly to skin
• Mosquito-proof your home:
– Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes outside
– Help reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home by emptying standing water on a regular basis from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and bird baths
– Dr. Acton also recommends people who get sick after being bitten by a mosquito contact their healthcare provider, particularly if they have symptoms like a fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, muscle aches, fatigue, or a rash.
Additional information and resources are available on the ODH website at Ohio.gov/mosquito.