Most bug bites are harmless but Polk County Environmental Health warns that some mosquitoes and ticks spread diseases that can become serious and occasionally fatal.
In North Carolina, the three mosquito-borne diseases of concern are West Nile Virus, La Crosse encephalitis and Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). The tick-borne diseases found in North Carolina are Ehrlichiosis, Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness.
Protect yourself, your family and your pets from mosquito and tick bites by taking precautions when you spend time outside, including the following:
– Use an EPA registered insect repellent (such as DEET) on your skin and clothing. Always have an adult apply repellent on children and follow manufacturer directions.
– Avoid prolonged time outside at dusk when mosquitos are present.
– Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks to cover your skin.
– Eliminate from around the yard pooling stagnant water – such as in bird baths, old tires and buckets – that could become mosquito breading areas.
– Stay on cleared paths to avoid tick infested areas.
– Check everyone for ticks after spending time outside.
– Take a shower within 2 hours after being outside to help wash away ticks.
– Put dry clothes in the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks.
– Check your pets for ticks every day especially when they’ve been outdoors. Remove if found and remember that ticks that your pets bring in may find their way to a person.
– Talk with your veterinarian about the best way to protect your pets from ticks. Ask your veterinarian before using any tick prevention products on your pets.
If you or a loved one ever have flu-like symptoms or rashes after being bitten, always contact your health care provider to determine if additional treatment is needed.
Contact Polk County Environmental Health at (828) 894-3739 if you have questions or concerns.