ATLANTA – Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, and in Georgia, the beginning of mosquito season. Avoiding mosquito bites protects you and your family from mosquito-borne illness and helps prevent the spread of mosquito-borne illness in Georgia.
The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) recommends the use of EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET (20%-30%) or Picaridin, IR3535 or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Follow all label instructions for safe and effective use. If you’re using sunscreen, apply it first followed by insect repellent. Wear light colored clothing including loose-fitting long sleeves, pants and socks to help protect against mosquito bites.
Dengue virus and chikungunya virus are typically found in the tropics and subtropics so remember to pack insect repellent when you travel. Zika virus is found in many countries and territories and has been identified in parts of Florida and Texas. There has been no local transmission of Zika virus in Georgia, but there have been 118 travel-related cases since January 2016. West Nile is transmitted by mosquitoes throughout Georgia.
One of the most effective ways of controlling the mosquito population starts in your own yard. Get rid of unnecessary items that hold water. Tip ‘n Toss after every rainfall or at least once a week to eliminate breeding locations for mosquitoes and prevent the spread of illness. Tip out standing water in flowerpots, planters, children’s toys, wading pools and buckets. If it holds water and you don’t need it (old tires, bottles, cans), toss it out.
Make sure doors and windows fit tightly and are in good repair to keep mosquitoes outside. Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, so avoiding outdoor activities during those hours will help you avoid mosquito bites. No matter what time you’re outside, remember to use insect repellent for the best protection against mosquito bites.