La Paz County Health Department would like to remind residents and visitors to avoid mosquitoes when outdoors during dusk to dawn hours.
“It’s that time of year again when mosquitoes are active,” said Marion Shontz, Director of the La Paz County Health Department. “Some mosquitoes carry the West Nile virus and our goal is to prevent mosquito bites in the first place.”
Mosquito activity usually peaks in August so right now is a good time to put prevention practices to use:
- Wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors at dusk and dawn.
- Use a mosquito repellent, following label directions, when outdoors.
- Remove all standing water.
- Turn over plastic containers, ceramic pots, tin cans, and other similar water-holding containers.
- Remove discarded tires from your property (used tires are one of the most common mosquito breeding sites).
- Turn over plastic pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
- Change the water in the bird baths, pet dishes and flower pots at least twice a week.
- If it is impossible to remove standing water (ponds, waterways) briquettes that inhibit larvae maturity are available at local hardware stores.
- Check window screens for holes.
- Try attracting animals that naturally feed on mosquitoes by building birdhouses, bat-houses, or filling ponds with mosquito larvae eating fish, called mosquito fish.
Monsoon rains can provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes who often travel several miles for a blood meal. Interestingly, only female mosquitoes rely on blood for sustenance while male mosquitoes feed on nectar. It takes 10-20 days for a mosquito to go from egg to adulthood.
West Nile virus is a potentially serious illness and has been found in 48 of the States. Most people who are infected with West Nile virus experience no symptoms or may experience mild illness such as a fever, headache, and swollen glands 3 to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. It is estimated that 1% of people bitten by an infected mosquito will develop encephalitis, inflammation of the brain. Symptoms of encephalitis include high fever, headache, muscle weakness or paralysis, seizures, and confusion.
The La Paz County Health Department is committed to serving and educating the community of La Paz County on all public health issues. For more information stop by the office at 1112 Joshua Ave suite 206 or call (928) 669-1100. Visit: westnileaz.com.