Cobb & Douglas Public Health is urging residents to clean up around their homes, their yards and their communities and discard unnecessary items – primarily containers – that can hold water. One of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of Zika virus is controlling the mosquito population by eliminating standing water around the home and in the yard.
After every rainfall, tip out water in flowerpots, planters, children’s toys and wading pools, and buckets. If it holds water and you don’t need it (old tires, bottles, cans, etc.), toss it out. Look for small bodies of water such as drainage ponds, tree stumps and tire ruts. Clean out gutters, remove piles of leaves and keep vegetation cut low to prevent landing sites for adult mosquitoes
For containers without lids or that are too big to Tip ‘N Toss (bird baths, garden pools), use larvicides such as mosquito dunks or mosquito torpedoes and follow the label instructions. Larvicides will not hurt birds or animals.
Homeowners associations and neighborhoods, along with city and county governments, are encouraged to sponsor community cleanup days.
“Mosquitoes don’t recognize property lines, so controlling their numbers has to be a collaborative effort among neighbors,” said Chris Hutcheson, Director of Environmental Health at Cobb & Douglas Public Health. “We are increasing mosquito surveillance and educating residents, but the greatest impact will be when individuals take personal responsibility for their homes, yards and communities.”
It is also important to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Before you leave the house every day, use EPA-registered insect repellents containing 20%-30% DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Wear light colored clothing with long sleeves, long pants and socks to help prevent mosquito bites.
The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes, and muscle pain. If you have recently traveled to an area where Zika is a transmission risk or if you are experiencing these symptoms, visit a doctor immediately for testing.