BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The humid weather has brought out the mosquitoes, and the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is offering tips to keep them off your skin.
After conducting routine surveillance of mosquito pools in the county, West Nile virus has been identified in the mosquito population this month.
Most people who get the virus do not show symptoms, but approximately one in five will get a mild fever and other flu-like symptoms. Fewer than one percent of people who contract it develop a serious, and sometimes fatal, neurological illness.
There are no medications to treat this virus, nor are there any vaccines to prevent it.
To limit exposure to mosquitoes, the ECDOH recommends limiting time outside at dusk and dawn. In addition to this, they say people should cover as much skin as possible and use an insect repellent with 25-30 percent DEET on exposed skin.
The department says these tactics also protect against other insect-borne diseases, like Lyme disease, which is carried by ticks.
“In a house or apartment, check screens and repair any holes or tears,” said Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein says. “Other barriers like nets for strollers and playpens, long sleeves and pants, socks and shoes, and hats are also good protective measures against mosquitoes.”
Here are some other tips for reducing the mosquito population, provided by the ECDOH:
- Eliminate local mosquito breeding sites – mosquitoes develop in standing water
- Do not leave standing water for longer than two days before dumping it out. Mosquito eggs can hatch in the amount of water left in a single bottle cap.
- Change water in birdbaths and planter bases every two days
- Clean clogged gutters to allow rainfall to drain freely
“Regular swimming pool maintenance and treatment can prevent mosquitoes from infesting an entire neighborhood,” Senior Public Health Sanitarian Peter Tripi says. “If you know of a swimming pool that is neglected, you can report that to Erie County’s Division of Environmental Health at (716) 961-6800. Stagnant swimming pools with brown or green water are a public health threat.”