3 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Mosquito Bites
Health & Science

3 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Mosquito Bites

June 19 2023

Harris County residents have been hearing the buzzing and have been scratching from bites for weeks. This is because of increased mosquito activity. You may not realize however, that many mosquitoes come from around your own homes. National Mosquito Control Awareness Week, observed from June 18 – 24, 2023, is a good time to remember that all mosquitoes require water to breed. Therefore, residents should make sure to empty any containers that hold water to help eliminate mosquito breeding around your homes such as, tires, glower pots, pet bowls, buckets, and other items.  Tires can breed thousands of mosquitoes, even a soda cap full of standing water can breed up to 200 mosquitoes! 

Harris County is home to approximately 56 species of mosquitoes, but only a handful transmit diseases, such as West Nile virus (WNV), St. Louis Encephalitis, Chikungunya, Zika or Dengue. The most common disease transmitted by mosquitoes in our area is WNV. While most people infected with WNV (80%) don’t even know it 20% develop a fever, headache, vomiting and or a rash. Meningitis and encephalitis can occur in less than 1% while risk of death is 10% among those whose nervous system is affected.   About 1 in 5 people infected develop symptoms. Approximately 1 out of 150 infected people, particularly the elderly, can develop serious and even fatal neurological diseases like encephalitis or meningitis.

The Harris County Public Health (HCPH) Mosquito & Vector Control Division (MVCD) tests mosquitoes year-round for diseases they can transmit such as WNV, Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue.  To date, Harris County Public Health MVCD has detected one positive sample of WNV in the local mosquito population.

“National Mosquito Awareness Week is a good reminder that we cannot let our guard down when it comes to mosquito-borne diseases.  MVCD is committed to protecting residents from diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, but we cannot do it alone.  We need the assistance of our residents because the fight against diseases transmitted by mosquitoes such as West Nile Virus, Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya must be a collaborative effort.” said Dr. Maximea (Max) Vigilant, MVCD Director.   

As we move into the summer months, please continue to enjoy the outdoors but remember to protect yourself and your family from diseases transmitted by infected mosquitoes.  Your best defense against being bitten is simply to be prepared.

As temperatures rise, so do mosquito populations.  MVCD wants residents to remember the 3 Ts when it comes to mosquito control in their area – “Tip, Toss, Take Action”.

For other mosquito prevention tips and resources, visit hcphtx.org/MCVDResources.

Source: Harris County Public Health

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