DON’T LET MOSQUITOES TAKE A BITE OUT OF YOUR OUTDOOR PLANS!

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Mosquitoes are always the uninvited and unwelcome guests to every outdoor party and activity you have planned this warm weather season. However, the Ocean County Health Department wants to remind you can keep these pesky party crashers from ruining your good time by taking many of the proper precautions.

“Mosquitoes need water to lay their eggs so the first thing you can do is to ensure your property is free of any items that may hold water. Something as small as a seashell or bottle cap can contain enough water for a mosquito to lay eggs,” says Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health.

Mosquito bites can be more than just annoying and itchy. They can spread viruses that cause disease and ultimately make you sick. In New Jersey, the most common mosquito-borne diseases people can get from local mosquitoes are West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on birds or mammals carrying the disease. The disease is then spread to people and other animals by the infected mosquitoes.

The Ocean County Health Department offers the following checklist of things you can do to prevent yourself from getting eaten alive by mosquitoes this summer:

Eliminate standing water in rain gutters, old tires, buckets, plastic covers, toys or any other container where mosquitoes can breed.

Empty and change the water in bird baths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels and potted plant trays at least once a week to eliminate potential mosquito habitats.

Drain temporary pools of water or fill with dirt.

Make sure windows, doors, and door screens are “bug tight” and there are no holes in the screens.

Keep swimming pool water treated and circulating.

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

Use EPA-Registered insect repellents when necessary and follow label directions and precautions closely. Do not use on babies under 2 months. Do not apply on a child’s hands, eyes, mouth or irritated skin.

Tuck shirts into pants and pants into socks to cover gaps in your clothing where mosquitoes can get to your skin. Use mosquito netting over baby carriages and stroller.

Daniel Regenye, Ocean County Health Department Public Health Coordinator adds, “If you do get bit by a mosquito, the best thing to do is wash the area with soap and water. Using a cold compress may help reduce itching and swelling. Calamine lotion or an over the counter hydrocortisone cream to relieve the itch works well too.”

For more information on mosquito bite prevention, please click on the Ocean County Health Department website at www.ochd.org. Also, please check out our new website at www.phu2.org, to access and learn more about our Public Health is You Too! campaign to help equip you to take simple steps to improve your health.