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Bug Off: How to Avoid Mosquitoes and West Nile in East Hampton

Suffolk County health officials offer advice on avoiding bites, repellents and more.

Step outside any summer night in East Hampton, and it seems like you're instantly surrounded by mosquitoes. 

Suffolk County Department of Health Services has reported 16 mosquito samples and two dead crows testing positive as carriers of West Nile Virus so far this summer. 

The county regularly conducts aerial spraying of wetland marshes across Long Island, but Patch readers have asked what more they can do. 

Suffolk County officials have provided this advice on what residents can do to prevent being bitten, repellents, reducing the number of mosquitoes in your backyard and when to seek treatment. 

Personal Protection
  • Reduce your exposure by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants. 
  • Place mosquito netting over infant carriers. 
  • Many mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. Stay indoors at these times. 
  • Install or repair door and window screens to prevent mosquitoes from getting inside. 
  • Reduce the number of local mosquitoes by eliminating any standing water. 
  • Use repellents to ward off mosquitoes. 
Repellents
  • The Center for Disease Control recommends repellents with DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, picaridin and IR 3535 (Avon’s Skin So Soft) can be applied to skin and/or clothing.
  • Lower concentrations of DEET are preferable, especially on children. 
  • Repellents containing permethrin are applied to clothing only, and not on skin.
  • For more information on repellents from the CDC, click here. 
Eliminate Areas of Stagnant Water 

By getting rid of areas of standing water, residents can reduce the areas where the insect breeds and reduce the number of mosquitoes in their backyard. 
  • Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers.
  • Remove all discarded tires on the property. 
  • Make sure roof gutters drain properly, and clean clogged gutters.
  • Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
  • Change the water in birdbaths.
  • Clean vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds and keep shrubs and grass trimmed.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs.
  • Drain water from pool covers.
  • Empty and scrub bird baths, pet water dishes and plastic wading pools at least every three days.
Diagnosis and Treatment
  • If you think you or a family member has West Nile Virus, consult with a health care provider. 
  • Preliminary diagnosis is often based on a person's symptoms, travel history and activities. 
  • Laboratory diagnosis is generally accomplished by testing blood or cerebrospinal fluid that covers the brain to check for virus-specific antibodies.
  • No specific treatment is available. Hospitalization may be required in severe cases. 
  • Antibiotics and anti-viral drugs are not effective. 
All information has been provided by Suffolk County Department of Health Services. 
Deborah Klughers July 31, 2013 at 06:22 PM
Thank you, Patch!

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