Protecting yourself from mosquitoes

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The Cayuga County Health Department is encouraging people to “fight the bite” this summer, since mosquitoes found in Oswego and Onondaga counties tested positive for West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about eight out of 10 people do not develop symptoms when infected with West Nile virus. Those that do, however, may experience fever, headaches, joint pains, diarrhea and vomiting, to name a few. Few people, too, experience symptoms of Eastern equine encephalitis, but severe cases may cause headaches, high fever, chills and vomiting.

To reduce the likelihood of being bit by mosquitoes, the health department said in a release that residents and visitors should use personal protection measures.

When spending time outdoors, precaution measures can include:

  • Wearing shoes and socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts;
  • Using a mosquito repellent containing 20 to 30 percent DEET or Picardin. Follow label directions and wash treated skin with soap and water after returning indoors;
  • Screening windows and doors and making sure they are free of rips, tears and holes.

Property owners can also reduce mosquito breeding by eliminating standing water. Ways to do that can include:

  • Cleaning clogged rain gutters;
  • Turning over wheelbarrows and wading pools when not in use;
  • Changing water in bird baths every four days;
  • Maintaining swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs, and draining water from pool covers;
  • Landscaping to eliminate low spots where standing water accumulates;
  • Throwing away outdoor containers, ceramic pots or containers that hold water;
  • Removing all tires from the property; 
  • Drilling holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors.

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