COLUMBUS, Ga — They are the last things we want to think about, but the first things to spoil our summer fun: mosquitoes. Unfortunately, they are more than a bother. Mosquitoes have the potential to pass along sickening and deadly diseases.
It’s National Mosquito Control Awareness Week. Health officials are warning the public that mosquitoes have the potential to infect humans with as many as 28 diseases, some that are deadly. Before you get out and enjoy your Fourth of July fun, be sure you are safe-guarding against mosquito bites.
These tiny insects are larger than life in terms of the potential harm they carry.
“There are very few deaths in America. But mosquitoes are the deadliest animals on the planet Earth. There are more people who die from mosquito bites worldwide, than any other single act,” says Terry Emlet, owner and operator of the Mosquito Authority in Columbus.
Any water source is a mosquito’s breeding heaven. In our area of the country, mosquito season can run from March to November, depending upon the warmth of the temperatures, and a mosquito’s eggs have the potential to haunt us for years. Mosquito eggs can live from three to five years; they don’t necessarily hatch the same year they are spawned.
So what can we do to fight back against those tiny Goliaths? Emlet says remember the three d’s: drain, dress, and defense.
“Take all the standing water that’s in your yard, and you want to dump it out,” says Emlet.
Though the hot temperatures don’t inspire us to wear long sleeves and long pants, that’s exactly the type of clothing we need to wear outdoors to protect us from mosquito bites. Additionally, the clothing should be loose-fitting and light-colored.
When you know you’ll be outdoors, never forget to cover yourself in mosquito repellent. It should be an EPA-approved treatment with deet.
When it comes to children, be especially careful. Emlet says sometimes mosquito-borne illnesses take up to 48 hours to show themselves in kids.
According to Emlet, some “basic symptoms are flu-like symptoms, headache, nausea, vomiting, but if you get severe-type symptoms like a spike in temperature, severe headache, stiff neck, twitching, seizures, nausea or vomiting really bad,they need to seek immediate medical attention.”