As spring is upon us, and summer is quickly approaching, the over 3,000 species of mosquitoes are more prevalent, and along with those pesky insects comes the threat of becoming infected with West Nile Virus. Animals and humans are prime targets. The bite of infected mosquitoes can make people very sick. The mild symptoms include fever, headache, body ache, nausea, vomiting, and occasionally swollen lymph glands and skin rash.
The serious symptoms which occur in one in 150 people can include the high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness, coma and even paralysis or death.
To prevent mosquito breeding near you and your home, there are some basic precautions to take. Let’s start with our surroundings; standing water needs to be removed and kiddie pools need to be emptied and refilled weekly, water fountains need to be running or emptied, gardens need proper drainage, clean out the gutters around the house and rake leaves and dispose of them.
Because California has over 50 different species of mosquitoes and others hibernate in California during the winter, we must be extra cautious, especially at dawn and dusk. On those moonlit nights when the moon is full, the activity increases 500 times.A few ways to keep the mosquitoes from biting is to wear long light clothing that covers the arms and legs, and in addition to that, spray some repellent that contains DEET, or picaridin, or even the oils of lemon and eucalyptus. Remember to try and avoid outdoors at dusk and dawn.
If you would like more information you can contact the California Dept. of Health Services, Vector Borne Disease Section, (916) 552-9730