Everyone loves summer! The barbeques, the beach, the campfires, but maybe not the mosquitoes. Every year these flying creatures invade our backyards, hiking trails, favorite swimming holes and homes. We swat, light candles, douse ourselves with stinky spray all to protect ourselves and our loved ones from these blood sucking insects that leave us scratching and complaining for days.
Mosquitoes are so much more than just a summertime nuisance. Every summer new cases of mosquito borne illness are reported. Over 30,000 cases of West Nile virus have been reported in the United States alone since 1999. In most cases, an infected person will not suffer any symptoms at all but 1 in 5 people will develop fever, headaches and body aches, and fatigue that can last for weeks or longer. There have been severe cases where patients have suffered encephalitis or meningitis causing seizures, coma or paralysis. For more information on West Nile virus, click here to review the information offered by the CDC.
West Nile virus, though certainly the most publicized of the mosquito transmitted diseases, is certainly not the only one found here in the United States. There are many others to protect both yourself and your furry companions from. To name just a few, dog heartworm, Western equine encephalitis and new to our shores is Chikungunya, causing extreme joint pain that can persist for weeks. There are certainly a vast number of others that can be found both here and around the world. Though rare, with the rate of travel in today’s society, it is not unheard of for even the African borne Malaria to find its way here.
So the question then becomes, what can we do to protect ourselves and our families? The best solution is control. If you can reduce the population around your home, you have a much better chance of staying healthy and itch-free. Mosquitoes require stagnant standing water to bread. Adult females lay their eggs near the edge of standing water in puddles, marshes, bird baths and even gutters. You can help prevent this by denying them access to these sources around your home. Clean birdbaths at least once a week, dispose of cans, basins and other containers that collect water and are left sitting for long periods of time, and keep your trash bins covered. Keep your gutters clean and debris-free as well, and make sure that any pipes around your home are not leaking. If you have a garden, fill in holes that create pools. Keep your grass cut short and well-trimmed around your home so that mosquitoes will not hide in that area.
You may not be able to keep your home completely mosquito free but these tips will certainly reduce the population creating a safer and much more enjoyable summer time environment.