July's article, Mosquito Repellents That Best Protect Against Zika, peaked a great deal of interest among our readers. Florida residents and visitors alike are on high alert as the number of those infected by the Zika virus continues to rise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a reliable resource for all things Zika.
Mosquito control and protection is still key in preventing infection. There are many ways that you can help protect yourself, your family and community.
Prevent mosquito bites:
Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent that has any one of the following active ingredients: DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or Oil of lemon eucalyptus. All EPA-registered insect repellents are evaluated to make sure they are safe and effective. Despite fears about chemicals, sprays containing DEET are among the most effective and is safe for pregnant women and children to use.1 Always follow the product label instructions.
Eliminate standing water in and around your home2:
- Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers. Check inside and outside your home.
- Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs.
- For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
If you have a septic tank, follow these steps2:
- Repair cracks or gaps.
- Cover open vent or plumbing pipes.
- Use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
Keep mosquitoes out of your home2:
- Use screens on windows and doors.
- Repair holes in screens.
- Use air conditioning when available.
For specific questions on Florida's mosquito control program, please contact Florida health officials.