The recent rains followed by warm weather have increased the number of tiny flying insects in the county. At this time, many of these insects are nuisance species like midges or gnats but the mosquito season is here and their numbers will increase in the coming weeks along with possible exposure to West Nile Virus. The best way to protect yourself, your family and your community from mosquito bites and the potential of contracting West Nile Virus is to follow the four Ds: Drain, Dusk/Dawn, Dress, DEET.
· DRAIN: Even the smallest containers like coffee and soda cans can be enough water for mosquitoes to lay eggs so everyone should thoroughly inspect all areas around their home and work for standing water and drain or empty all standing water.
· DUSK/DAWN: Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing during evening and early morning (dusk and dawn) or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times when mosquitoes are most active.
· DRESS: Dress in long sleeves and pants during dusk and dawn or in areas where mosquitoes are active. Wearing light-colored clothing may also help prevent being bitten.
· DEET, Picariden or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus: Wear insect repellant containing either DEET, Picariden or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
o Follow label instructions.
o Apply repellants to exposed skin and/or clothing.
o Never use repellants over cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
o If using DEET, choose the concentration that best fits the amount of time spent outside. 25 percent DEET lasts up to 5 hours, 5 percent lasts 45-90 minutes. Use a concentration of 30 percent or less for children.
o DEET should not be used on children less than 6 months of age. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children less than 3 years of age.
In 2014, as reported by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, a total of 118 cases of human West Nile Virus (WNV) infection were identified in Colorado from 24 different counties.