Health Dept. announces mosquito awareness week

MARSHALL CO. — This week is National Mosquito Awareness week, and Marshall County Health Department educator Sandy Read recently shared some tips on how to avoid West Nile Virus this season.
“The state (health department) checks mosquito larvae for West Nile Virus, and there have been some found in mosquitoes but not any in humans so far,” noted Read.
She added that the cases of West Nile Virus were found in mosquitoes in the mid and southern parts of Indiana.
“A lot of people are thinking that mosquitoes will not be bad this year because it’s been so dry,” said Read, “but mosquitoes are still breeding because bodies of water are so stagnant.”
Read shared the following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on behalf of the health department:
• Use an insect repellent on exposed skin to repel mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and other arthropods. EPA-registered repellents include products containing DEET ( and picaridin. DEET concentrations of 30 to 50 percent are effective for several hours. Picaridin, available at seven and 15 percent concentrations, needs more frequent application.
• DEET formulations as high as 50 percent are recommended for both adults and children over two months of age. Protect infants less than two months of age by using a carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit.
• When using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and then repellent. Repellent should be washed off at the end of the day before going to bed.
• Wear long-sleeved shirts which should be tucked in, long pants, and hats to cover exposed skin. When you visit areas with ticks and fleas, wear boots, not sandals, and tuck pants into socks.
• Inspect your body and clothing for ticks during outdoor activity and at the end of the day. Wear light-colored or white clothing so ticks can be more easily seen. Removing ticks right away can prevent some infections.
• Apply permethrin-containing (like Permanone) or other insect repellents to clothing, shoes, tents, mosquito nets, and other gear for greater protection. Permethrin is not labeled for use directly on skin. Most repellent is generally removed from clothing and gear by a single washing, but permethrin-treated clothing is effective for up to five washings.
• Be aware that mosquitoes that transmit malaria are most active during twilight periods (dawn and dusk or in the evening).
• Stay in air-conditioned or well-screened housing, and/ or sleep under an insecticide treated bed net. Bed nets should be tucked under mattresses and can be sprayed with a repellent if not already treated with an insecticide.
• Daytime biters include mosquitoes that transmit dengue and chikungunya viruses and sand flies that transmit leishmaniasis.
With questions about mosquito and tick safety, or about West Nile Virus, contact the Marshall County Health Department, 574-935-8565.