Mosquitoes another problem in Irma's aftermath

Published: Sep. 12, 2017 at 5:02 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2018 at 11:43 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

(WAFF) - The Alabama Department of Public Health is advising those impacted by Tropical Storm Irma of the potential mosquito problem that could be left behind in flooded areas.

Residents of flooded areas should be particularly careful to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes, as they can carry serious diseases such as West Nile virus.

"When you have this much rainfall, you're adding a lot of water to our area that can actually breed mosquitoes," said Cheryl Clay of Huntsville Vector Control.

"In about 10 to 14 days, we're going to see a little bit of an explosion in the mosquito population," she said.

Mosquitoes are at their most active late in the evening, overnight hours and into the early morning. Limiting outside activities during these times is the easiest way to avoid the menacing insects.

However, keep in mind that the mosquitoes that carry Zika are active during the day, so even though there has been no known spread of Zika by mosquitoes in Alabama, prevention techniques to reduce exposure to mosquitoes should be followed anytime when going outdoors.

"The important thing is to check your property, remove the water that you can and then just have that insect repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient just to prepare during the time we're going to be experiencing more mosquitoes than usual," said Clay.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to prevent mosquito-borne diseases is to avoid mosquito bites by following these recommendations.

  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 when going outdoors. Follow label instructions carefully when using any insect repellent. Repellents should not be used on infants less than 2 months old.
  • Wear loose fitting, long sleeves and long pants.
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors. Use air conditioning, if available.
  • Empty standing water from items outside homes such as flowerpots, buckets, old tires, children's pools.
  • Clean clogged gutters and clear drainage ditches and pipes of debris.

The primary signs of mosquito-borne disease in people are a high fever and headaches severe enough to require medical attention. Other less common signs in addition to fever and headaches include confusion, neck pain and stiffness, and seizures.

For more information on mosquito-borne illness safety, visit the ADPH website.

Copyright 2017 WAFF. All rights reserved.