Jacksonites are welcoming warmer weather and longer days, but along with spring and summer comes a pesky downside — mosquitoes and ticks.
As the seasons change, the Wyoming Department of Health is offering advice to help families avoid potentially serious insect-related diseases associated with the summer months.
“Most of us are probably looking forward to enjoying our beautiful state with some time outdoors this summer,” said Clay Van Houten, Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit manager with the state health department. “As we do that, there are still a few common-sense actions that can help keep the diseases mosquitoes and ticks spread from ruining our fun.”
A few of those diseases of concern in Wyoming are the West Nile virus, which is spread by mosquitoes, and diseases spread by deer flies and ticks, such as tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Colorado tick fever.
“We want people to remember the familiar steps we’ve been talking about for years to help prevent mosquito bites,” Van Houten said.
The “5 Ds” of mosquito-bite prevention are:
1) DAWN and 2) DUSK — Mosquitos prefer to feed at dawn or dusk, so avoid going outside during these times.
3) DRESS — Wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt outdoors. Clothing should be light-colored and made of tightly woven materials.
4) DRAIN — Mosquitos breed in shallow, stagnant water. Reduce the amount of standing water by draining or removing it.
5) DEET — Use an insect repellent containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide). When using DEET, also known as diethyltoluamide, be sure to read and follow the label instructions. picaridin (KBR 3023) or oil of lemon eucalyptus can also be effective.
People can be exposed to ticks when walking through, playing or sitting in brushy and grassy areas, or when handling certain animals. Steps to help avoid tick-related diseases include:
• Applying insect repellents such as those containing 20% or more DEET and/or picaridin.
• Wearing light-colored clothing to make it easier to see crawling ticks.
• Tucking pant legs into socks.
• Upon return from tick-infested areas, searching yourself and children for ticks and removing them if found.
• Checking pets for ticks and using tick control products recommended by veterinarians.
• Carefully handling live or dead potentially tick-infested animals such as rabbits and rodents.