If you feel like you’ve been eaten alive by mosquitoes lately, you are not the only one, with the mozzie population likely to have been boosted by the rain.
In fact, now is a good time to prepare your home for mosquitoes, with numbers expected to increase with the warm weather and recent rain, according to health officials.
“Mosquito numbers have been low so far this year, but with the water lying around now after recent rain, numbers are expected to increase rapidly,” said Murrumbidgee Local Health District’s director of public health, Tracey Oakman.
“Check your window and door screens and get them repaired if there are any tears in them. Also reduce places mosquitoes can breed by emptying out any containers lying around with water in them,” Mrs Oakman said.
“Every year the Public Health Unit receives notifications of local residents contracting Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus. These viruses cause persistent and debilitating symptoms such as joint aches and pains, fever, chills, headache and sometimes a rash. The rash usually disappears after seven to 10 days, but some people may experience these symptoms for weeks or even months,” Mrs Oakman said.
“There is no specific treatment for these viruses. The best way to avoid infection is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.”
Mrs Oakman urged people to take simple precautions against mosquito bites, including:
- Screening all windows and doors to prevent mosquitoes from coming inside.
- Avoid being outside unprotected, particularly during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. When outside cover up as much as possible with light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and covered footwear.
- Apply mosquito repellent regularly to exposed areas (as directed on the container). Repellents containing Diethyl Toluamide (DEET) or Picaridin are best. Repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or p-Menthane-3.8-diol (PMD) also provide adequate protection.
- Don’t use repellents on the skin of children under the age of three months. Instead use physical barriers such as netting on prams, cots and play areas for babies.
- Light mosquito coils or use vaporising mats indoors. Devices that use light to attract and electrocute insects are not effective.
- When mosquitoes are present inside the room, use over-the-counter insecticide sprays, especially behind furniture and dark places.
- When camping, use flyscreens, or sleep under mosquito nets.
- Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by getting rid of items that hold water or by emptying the containers.
For copies of NSW Health fact sheets on mosquito-borne viruses, click on the links: