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Prepare Now For Mosquito Season

Southern NSW Local Health District Director of Public Health, Tracey Oakman is warning the community to prepare now for an influx of mosquitos following on from the recent rains and increasing temperature. “Mosquito numbers have been lower than this time last year, but with the water lying around after recent rain, numbers are expected to increase rapidly,” Mrs Oakman said. “Now is a good time to prepare your home. Check your window and door screens and get them repaired if there are any tears in them. Also reduce the places mosquitos can breed by emptying out any containers lying around with water in them.” Every year the Health District Public Health Unit receives numerous notifications of local residents contracting Ross River Virus. The virus can 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 ten days, but some people may experience these symptoms for weeks or even months. Mrs Oakman is urging the community to take simple precautions against mosquito bites as there is no specific treatment for this virus. The best way to avoid infection is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Simple steps to avoid mosquito bites include: • 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. • 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, go to Ross River Virus Barmah Forest Virus

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