Your Health: Mosquitoes, Zika, eye care, osteoarthritis - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Your Health: Mosquitoes, Zika, eye care, osteoarthritis

(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)
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Mosquito prevention

The Vector Control Division of the Madison County Health Department will begin operating mosquito fog trucks in Huntsville on Wednesday. Planned locations for fog trucks are posted on their web page by 5 p.m. of each fogging day. Fog trucks run weekdays from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. except for state holidays. The web page also displays the last time an address was fogged and how many times it has been fogged during the mosquito season.

Please keep in mind that fog trucks cannot operate in unfavorable weather conditions. High wind, extreme heat and rain can limit fogging capability. The fog trucks should not be your only method of protection from mosquito bites. Breeding mosquitoes on your property will limit the effectiveness of the fog truck.

Please practice the three D’s of mosquito bite prevention: drain, dress and defend.

Drain: Twice a week, remove or drain any items holding even a small amount of standing water to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes, including pet dishes, tarps, buckets, tires, wheelbarrows, potted plants, corrugated pipes and children’s wading pools and toys.

  • Clean out gutters and repair any water leaks.
  • Check for standing water around air conditioner.
  • If possible, fill tree holes with expandable foam.
  • Scrub out bird baths and flower pot dishes to remove mosquito eggs.
  • Check storm shelters for standing water.
  • Do not over water lawns as this can result in mosquito breeding on your property and in ditches from runoff.
  • Apply a mosquito larvicide to swimming pools and skimmers with standing water to prevent adult mosquitoes from emerging. These products can be purchased at local retailers that carry pesticides or online. If you need assistance with larvicide, please contact their office.  A pool that is not going to be used this year should be properly covered. To prevent mosquito breeding, the pool and skimmer must be tightly covered so that mosquitoes cannot enter to lay eggs.
  • Please use this checklist to assist in inspecting your yard and get the kids involved for a fun family activity.

Dress: Wear light-colored, tightly woven, loose-fitting clothing, including long-sleeved shirt and long pants with socks and shoes.

Defend: Properly apply insect repellent with EPA-registered active ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon-eucalyptus/PMD. Apply sunscreen first, then insect repellent. Follow all label instructions. EPA-registered insect repellents are safe for use by pregnant women.

Zika virus

At this time, all cases of Zika virus in Alabama were related to travel and not associated with a bite from a local mosquito. Even if they do not feel sick, travelers returning from areas where Zika virus is being spread by local mosquitoes should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for three weeks so they do not spread Zika to local mosquitoes that could spread the virus to other people. Pregnant women, women trying to get pregnant, and their partners should follow all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations. For the most up-to-date information regarding Zika virus, please go to www.cdc.gov/zika.

For additional information regarding mosquito control, please go to www.huntsvilleal.gov/vectorcontrol.

If you are experiencing a mosquito problem, please call 256-532-1916 or email Cheryl.Clay@adph.state.al.us. Please let us know if you would like them to come talk to your community about the prevention of mosquito-borne diseases.

According to the CDC, about 61 million people across the country are at risk for serious vision loss. Yet half that number have visited an eye doctor in the past year.

Eye problems

Many eye problems can be prevented. The most important thing you can do is have a comprehensive, dilated eye exam every year. Know your family's eye health history and talk to your optometrist. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can also help. Protect your eyes when out in the sun playing sports. Give your eyes a break, especially if you spend a lot of time focused on any one thing. For every 20 minutes spent staring at a computer, stare at a spot about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds.

Osteoarthritis

Baby Boomers know that millions of people suffer from painful knee osteoarthritis, but a common treatment may be no help. Researchers at Tufts Medical Center tested steroid injections in a group of 140 patients. Half got the real injections. The other half had saline shots every three months for two years.

Results? No significant difference in pain levels between the two groups.

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