Mosquito Prevention Key In Flood Recovery

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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Heavy rains and receding flood waters across Iowa are pooling into perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) reminds Iowans the next phase of flood recovery includes the prevention and protection against the annoying insects.

"Although they are a tremendous nuisance, floodwater mosquitoes normally don't carry diseases such as West Nile and LaCrosse Encephalitis," said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. "The mosquitoes that typically spread disease in Iowa usually appear later in the year. However, Iowans should be taking steps now to help reduce the risk in the future." Iowans play a large role in eliminating potential breeding habitats for mosquitoes by getting rid of standing water around their homes. You can help control mosquitoes by:

* Removing their habitat (where they live and breed)

o Drain any places with standing water to reduce where mosquitoes can lay eggs. (This includes flower pots, old tires, rain gutters, plastic covers, cans, etc.)

o Empty and change the water in bird baths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels and potted plant trays at least once a week to stop mosquitoes from breeding.

o Keep swimming pool water treated and circulating.

* Preventing your exposure to mosquitoes

o Apply EPA-approved insect repellents when necessary and follow label directions and precautions closely.

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o Wear long sleeves and long pants.

o Make sure window and door screens are "bug tight."

o Be aware of peak hours of mosquito activity: dusk and dawn.

o Replace your outdoor lights with yellow "bug" lights which tend to attract fewer mosquitoes than ordinary light. The yellow lights are NOT repellents, however.

Some communities have Mosquito Control Spraying programs; others do not. While the spraying of pesticides does reduce the number of mosquitoes, some people are concerned about the health risks that such programs may present. Although spray programs pose a low risk to public health, some people may prefer to avoid or minimize exposure. To reduce exposure:

* Remain indoors during applications in the immediate area near your home.

* Close windows and turn off window-unit air conditioners when spraying is taking place in the immediate area.

* Do not let children play near or behind trunk-mounted applicators.

* Wash hands and face after returning indoors while spraying is being conducted.

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