Watch out mozzies about

Murrumbidgee Local Health District are warning local residents and visitors to be cautious of mosquitoes after the heavy rain and the return of heat.

The combination of warm weather and water are the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes and MLHD Driector of public health Tracy Oakman has said the insect numbers are on the rise.

“Mosquito numbers are expected to increase with the warm weather and recent rains,” Mrs Oakman said.

According to Mrs Oakman mosquito numbers have been lower than average so far this summer.

“With the water lying around now after last weekends rain, numbers are expected to increase rapidly.”

The Murrumbidgee Local Health District advises that now is the time to prepare homes and businesses to prevent mosquito borne viruses and diseases.

“Check your window and door screens and get them repaired if there are any tears in them. 

“Also reduce places mosquitos can breed by emptying out any containers lying around with water in them,” Mrs Oakman said.

“Every year the Public Health Unit receives notifications of local residents contracting Ross River Virus and Barmah Forrest Virus.

“These viruses 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 10 days but some people may experience these symptoms for weeks or even months.”

Mrs Oakman stated there is no treatment for the viruses and urges locals to prevent mosquito bites.

“The best way to avoid infection is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes,” she said.

Simple steps to avoid mosquito bites include:

• Screening all windows and doors.

• Avoid being outside unprotected, particularly during dawn and dusk.

• Apply mosquito repellent regularly to exposed areas (as directed on the container).

• Don’t use repellents on the skin of children under the age of three months.

• Light mosquito coils or use vaporising mats indoors. 

• 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.