Preventing Mosquito Bites Key to Limiting Virus Transmission

Wet and warm weather conditions bring the opportunity for mosquito breeding grounds. Mosquitoes can carry viruses that could make a person sick.

May 22, 2019 | 2 min reading time

Wet and warm weather conditions throughout the City of St. Louis and the St. Louis metro region can bring the opportunity for more mosquito breeding grounds. Mosquitoes can carry viruses that could make a person sick, or in rare cases, lead to a person’s death. The City of St. Louis Department of Health asks residents to take these simple steps after a rainstorm to remove a mosquito’s habitat at their home.

  • 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 destroy potential mosquito habitats.
  • Drain or fill temporary pools of water with dirt.
  • Keep swimming pool water treated and circulating.

There are also ways to protect one’s self and family from mosquito-related illness, through the prevention of mosquito bites.

  • Use insect repellent.
    • When used as directed, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
  • Cover up: Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Keep mosquitoes outside: Use air conditioning, or window and door screens. Repair torn window and door screens. If you are not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes inside your home or hotel, sleep under a mosquito bed net.
  • Limit time spent outside during the hours of dawn and dusk. This is when mosquitos are most active.

“The prevention of mosquito bites is key both here at home and when traveling to avoid the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile and Zika,” says Dr. Fredrick L. Echols, director of health for the City of St. Louis. “Ensuring a traveler packs necessary health-related items, including insect repellent, will help limit the spread of these diseases.”

If planning to travel outside of the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes travel health notices on its website, to inform travelers about current health issues related to specific international destinations.

The CDC recommends travelers should continue to protect themselves from mosquito bites for three weeks after a trip, even if they do not feel sick, to prevent the spread of viruses to uninfected mosquitoes. If someone does develop symptoms including fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, and rash, they should contact their healthcare provider immediately and discuss their travel history.

Visit the CDC website “Prevent Mosquito Bites” for information on mosquito-related diseases and prevention methods.

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