August 7, 2008
Recent heavy rains and flooding following Hurricane Dolly and Tropical Storm Edouard have sent the Texas mosquito population soaring. While aerial spraying against mosquitoes continues in Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy counties, Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) officials say there are several things people can do to protect themselves.
“The number one thing that people can do to keep from being bitten by a mosquito is to use an insect repellent every time they are outside,” said Dr. David Lakey, DSHS Commissioner. “People should look for repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535; and always follow label directions.”
DSHS suggests the following steps to help cut down on the mosquito population:
- Empty or get rid of cans, buckets, bottles, old tires, empty pots, plant saucers and other containers that hold water.
- Keep gutters clear of debris and standing water. Remove standing water around structures and from flat roofs.
- Change water in pet dishes daily. Change water in wading pools and bird baths several times a week.
- Fill in low areas in the yard and holes in trees that catch water.
- Maintain your backyard pool or hot tub and be sure someone takes care of it if you are out of town.
- Cover trash containers so they will not collect water.
- Water lawns and gardens carefully so water does not stand for several days.
- Repair leaking plumbing and outside faucets.
- Screen rain barrels and openings to water tanks or cisterns.
- Keep drains and ditches clear of weeds and trash so water will not collect.
In addition, be sure door, porch and window screens are in good condition.
long with an annoying presence and an irritating bite, mosquitoes can carry organisms that cause viral infections such as West Nile infection, St. Louis encephalitis or dengue fever.
(News Media: For more information contact Emily Palmer, DSHS Assistant Press Officer, 512-458-7400.)