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Columbia County Residents and Visitors Encouraged to Take Precautions to Avoid Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

By Sallie Ford 386-758-1058

April 17, 2018

Lake City, FLa. - The Florida Department of Health in Columbia County (DOH-Columbia) encourages all residents and visitors to take precautions to protect against mosquito-borne illnesses and prevent mosquito bites, particularly during the warm, moist summer months. In Hamilton County, one horse has recently been diagnosed with Eastern Equine Encephalitis. An additional equine case was reported in northern Columbia County.

DOH-Columbia and DOH-Hamilton will continue surveillance and prevention efforts and encourage everyone to take basic precautions to help limit exposure.

To protect yourself from mosquitoes, you should remember to "Drain and Cover":

DRAIN standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.

  • Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected.
  • Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren't being used.
  • Empty and clean birdbaths and pet's water bowls at least once or twice a week.
  • Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
  • Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

COVER skin with clothing or repellent.

  • Clothing - Wear shoes, socks, and long pants and long-sleeves. This type of protection may be necessary for people who must work in areas where mosquitoes are present.
  • Repellent - Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, and IR3535 are effective. Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.

Tips on Repellent Use

  • Always read label directions carefully for the approved usage before you apply a repellent. Some repellents are not suitable for children.
  • Products with concentrations of up to 30 percent DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) are generally recommended. Other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved repellents contain picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or IR3535. These products are generally available at local pharmacies. Look for active ingredients to be listed on the product label.
  • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin, or onto clothing, but not under clothing.
  • In protecting children, read label instructions to be sure the repellent is age-appropriate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of three years. DEET is not recommended on children younger than two months old.
  • Avoid applying repellents to the hands of children. Adults should apply repellent first to their own hands and then trasfer it to the child's skin and clothing.
  • If additional protection is necessary, apply a permethrin repellent directly to your clothing. Again, always follow the manufacturer's directions.

COVER doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house.

  • Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios.

For more information on what repellent is right for you, consider using the Environmental Protection Agency’s search tool to help you choose skin-applied repellent products: http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/#searchform.

The Department continues to conduct statewide surveillance for mosquito-borne illnesses, including Eastern Equine Encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, Malaria, West Nile virus infections, and Dengue. Residents of Florida are encouraged to report dead birds via the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s site - http://legacy.myfwc.com/bird/default.asp. For more information, visit DOH’s website at http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/mosquito-borne-diseases/index.html or call the Florida Department of Health in Columbia County (386) 758-1068.

About the Florida Department of Health

The Department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.floridahealth.gov.

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