• Minimize time spent outdoors around dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
• Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitoes are most active. Clothing should be light colored and made of tightly woven materials that keep mosquitoes away from the skin.
• Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure and to protect small babies when outdoors.
• Consider using DEET-containing mosquito repellent, as directed, when outdoors.
• Remove standing water where mosquitoes could lay eggs
• Weekly, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water like tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers, or trash containers. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water.
• Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs.
• For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
• Use larvicides to treat large containers of water that will not be used for drinking and cannot be covered or dumped out.
• If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps. Cover open vent or plumbing pipes. Use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
• Use an outdoor insect spray made to kill mosquitoes in areas where they rest. Mosquitoes rest in dark, humid areas like under patio furniture, or under the carport or garage.
• Install or repair and use window and door screens. Do not leave doors propped open.
• Use air conditioning when possible.
• Kill mosquitoes inside your home.
• Use an indoor insect fogger* or indoor insect spray* to kill mosquitoes and treat areas where they rest. These products work immediately, and may need to be reapplied. When using insecticides, always follow label directions. Only using insecticide will not keep your home free of mosquitoes.
• Mosquitoes rest in dark, humid places like under the sink, in closets, under furniture, or in the laundry room.
• Most people who are infected with West Nile Virus and become ill will have a mild illness which may include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, and vomiting or skin rash.
• Rarely, people develop a severe form of the illness that can include neck stiffness, disorientation, loss of consciousness, tremors, muscle weakness and paralysis.
• Older adults are more likely to have severe health consequences if they become infected with West Nile Virus.
• Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals. Many people get ticks in their own yard or neighborhood.
• Treat or buy clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings.
• Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. EPA’s helpful search can help you find the product that best suits your needs.
• Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. Walk in the center of trails
• Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns.
• Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas and around patios and play equipment. This will restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
• Mow the lawn frequently and keep leaves raked.
• Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents that ticks feed on).
• Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees and place them in a sunny location, if possible
Check your clothing for ticks. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing. Any ticks that are found should be removed. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks.
Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and daypacks.
Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease and may be effective in reducing the risk of other tick-borne diseases. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.
Check your body for ticks after being outdoors. Conduct a full body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, including your own backyard. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:
• Under the arms
• In and around the ears
• Inside belly button
• Back of the knees
• In and around the hair
• Between the legs
Lyme disease occurs in three stages: early localized, early disseminated and late disseminated. However, the stages can overlap and not all patients go through all three.
• Lyme disease occurs in three stages: early localized, early disseminated and late disseminated. However the stages can overlap and not all patients go through all three.
• Lyme disease causes a rash, often in a bull's-eye pattern, and flu-like symptoms. Joint pain and weakness in the limbs also can occur.
• If infected you may have pain in the joints and muscles, whole body fatigue, fever or malaise and stiffness or swelling in the joints.
Ebony Jackson-Shaheed, MPH, Epidemiologist
Director of Health & Social Services
999 Broad Street
Bridgeport, CT 06604