To the editor:
The warm weather is here in Massachusetts and now’s the time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.
But remember, it’s also mosquito weather and mosquitoes can carry diseases that can make you very sick.
The Cape Ann Boards of Health (Essex, Gloucester, Manchester and Rockport) remind residents to take precautions when going outside so they can enjoy a happy and healthy summer.
West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) are two diseases carried by mosquitoes that you may have heard about.
West Nile Virus is a disease most commonly spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people infected with WNV won’t have any symptoms and will recover on their own, but some may develop a fever, headache, nausea, a rash, or more serious symptoms.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is a very rare but serious disease caused by a virus transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. The first symptoms of EEE are fever, stiff neck, headache and lack of energy.
Local officials monitor mosquito activity and disease throughout the summer and will advise residents if the risk changes. Massachusetts Department of Public Health is reporting that the wet spring and recent warm, humid conditions favor the development of large mosquito populations including those species associated with WNV and EEE.
The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from these diseases
Use the right bug spray anytime you are outdoor, with DEET but not more than 30 percent DEET for kids. Oil of Lemon eucalyptus is natural and as effective as low concentrations of DEET, though not as long-lasting. Be sure to read the label before applying.
Wear long sleeves, pants and socks when possible. Avoid the outdoors from dawn until dusk during peak mosquito biting times.
Repair all screens to keep mosquitoes out.
Remove discarded tires and other items that could collect water where mosquitoes breed. Use mosquito netting over infant carriers when outdoors.
Regardless of whatever else is going on to control mosquitoes in your town, personal protection is your strongest defense against mosquitoes and the diseases they carry.
For more information go to www.mass.gov/dph/mosquitoor visit your Cape Ann Town website.
Health agent, Rockport
Health agent, Gloucester