Tag Archives: mosquito-borne diseases

DHEC in the News: Fireworks safety, mosquitoes

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

The reality of fireworks on the Fourth

You’ve heard the message for years. And it’s been ignored for years: Fireworks are dangerous and should only be used in supervised situations.

An estimated 7,600 of the total 11,000 fireworks-related injuries from two summers ago were treated in hospital emergency departments during the period between June 18 and July 18, 2016, according to a report by the Consumer Products Safety Commission and its National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

This July 4th many Americans and South Carolinians will continue the long tradition of lighting up the night with fireworks. While the displays are visually compelling, people should put safety first.

Columbia Fire Dept. offers 4th of July fireworks safety tips

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) – The Columbia Fire Department wants you to have a safe and fun 4th of July, but they’re also stressing the importance of staying safe.

“Fireworks are exciting to see this time of year, but they are dangerous when misused not only for the operator but also for bystanders and nearby structures,” said Bengie Leverett, Public Fire Education Officer at Columbia-Richland Fire Rescue. “Everyone is urged to use extreme precaution when using the devices.”

Lowcountry mosquitoes deadlier than sharks? 4 tips you need to know about bug spray

Mosquitoes — along with their fiendish neighbors no-see-ums — can make being outdoors in the Lowcountry unpleasant.

That’s not to mention the diseases mosquitoes can transmit via their bites, such as West Nile and Eastern equine encephalitis viruses, both of which were recorded in South Carolina in 2017, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

National Mosquito Control Awareness Week

It’s National Mosquito Control Awareness Week (June 24-30), which is a good time to educate residents about mosquitoes and the diseases they carry and to urge everyone to do their part by protecting themselves and their homes from the potential spread of mosquito-borne illnesses.

Local governments and residents themselves provide the first line of defense. Be vigilant about protecting yourself from mosquito bites and ridding your homes and yards of containers where mosquitoes breed.

Get rid of and prevent standing water:

  • Get rid of places where adult mosquitoes can find cool, dark, and damp areas to rest by mowing the lawn, trimming shrubbery, and cutting down weeds and vines, such as ivy, in the yard and next to the house.
  • Clear out weeds, leaves, dirt, and other debris from pipes, especially those under a driveway. Make sure that water does not stand inside or near the ends of the pipe.
  • Clean out rain gutters and downspouts regularly. Clogged gutters are one of the most overlooked breeding sites for mosquitoes around homes.
  • Empty and turn over containers that hold water such as cans, jars, drums, bottles, flower pots, buckets, children’s toys, wheel barrows, old appliances, plastic sheeting or tarps used to cover objects like grills or swimming pools, etc.
  • Drain or fill any low places, such as potholes, on your property where water collects and stands for more than five to seven days.

Wear insect repellent or protective clothing.

When used as directed, insect repellent is the best way to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Use a repellent that includes one of the following:

  • DEET: Products containing DEET include Cutter, OFF!, Skintastic.
  • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin): Products containing picaridin include Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus, and Autan outside the United States).
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD: Repel contains OLE.
  • IR3535: Products containing IR3535 include Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition and SkinSmart.

Learn more

It’s Spring: Time To Protect Yourself And Your Family From Mosquitoes

Spring is here, following yet another warm winter in South Carolina. As you and your family are heading outside, remember that now is one of the most important times to start thinking about and taking action aimed at protecting your love ones from the pesky insects — even if mosquitoes are the “unofficial state bird!”

Mosquitoes known to carry diseases

South Carolina is home to at least 61 different species of mosquito. Anyone who has lived here for any length of time has encountered the itch-inducing menace on an almost daily basis during summer and fall. Hunters have literally been chased out of the woods, never to return (OK, maybe not literally)! Most of the time, we’re only concerned with the pain or itchiness from a mosquito’s bite – we don’t worry about getting sick. It is true, however, that mosquitoes can transmit disease.

Some mosquitoes in South Carolina have been known to carry West Nile virusEastern equine encephalitis virus, and other viruses or parasites. Although there has been heightened concern recently over Zika virus, no confirmed cases have occurred in South Carolina from South Carolina mosquitoes. All known cases of Zika in South Carolina, to date, have been travel or sexual contact related.

Do your part to help control mosquitoes

Joining forces and doing our part to combat the threat of mosquito-borne viruses and parasites is critical. We must be vigilant about controlling the mosquito population in our own yards and communities, while protecting ourselves from bites. Remove, empty, or fill any objects in your yard or home that might hold water in order to eliminate breeding sites.

In surveying your property for mosquito breeding spots, leave literally no stone unturned. Drain, fill, or get rid of areas that hold water.

  • Clear out weeds, leaves, dirt, and other debris from pipes.clean-gutters-istock_000006269745medium
  • Repair leaky pipes and outdoor faucets.
  • Regularly clean out rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Empty and turn over containers that hold water such as cans, jars, drums, bottles, flower pots, buckets, children’s toys, wheel barrows, old appliances, and plastic sheeting or tarps used to cover objects like grills or swimming pools, etc.
  • Make sure that all permanent water containers such as wells, septic tanks, cisterns, water tanks, and cesspools are tightly covered and insect-proof.
  • Change the water in bird baths and empty and clean out children’s wading pools at least once a week.
  • Clean out and change the water in your pet’s water bowl or trough every day.
  • Larger troughs for livestock should be cleaned out on a weekly basis.
  • Cover trash containers and garbage cans to keep rainwater from accumulating.
  • Drain or get rid of old tires by recycling them.

Avoid mosquito bites

If you are outside, wear protective clothing. Long pants and long-sleeved shirts are more repellent_iStock_26736429_XXLARGEprotective than you might think. You may also choose to apply a mosquito repellent — either a spray or wipe — per manufacturer instructions to help shield you from bites. Avoid wearing perfume or scented products. Also, keep car windows rolled up and garage doors closed at night. Ensure all of your windows and doors have screens or seal properly.

Visit DHEC’s mosquito information page for additional information about protecting yourself from mosquito bites, eliminating breeding areas, contacting local mosquito control, and more.

Beware: Mosquitoes are still active

Although the weather is turning cooler, don’t be fooled. The pesky mosquito is still with us and will be until temperatures are consistently cold enough to drive the insect away.

Cold snaps can help reduce the likelihood of excessive mosquito breeding. That’s because mosquitoes are cold-blooded and do not thrive in cooler temperatures. Mosquitoes shut down for the winter.

But until that happens, it’s important to take steps to reduce mosquito populations and reduce your family’s exposure to these insects, which can spread diseases such as West Nile, Zika and others.

Begin by reducing mosquito breeding habitats.

It only takes as few as five days for water in containers as small as a bottle cap to become active breeding sites for mosquitoes.

Routinely empty any containers on your property that are holding water:

  • Pool covers
  • Flower pots
  • Boat covers
  • Tires
  • Pet bowls
  • Toys
  • Tarps
  • Remove debris from gutters.
  • Trim back thick shrubbery and overgrown grass on your property.
  • Fix leaky outdoor faucets.

Protect you and your family from mosquitoes and possible exposure to mosquito-borne illnesses.

  • Repair damaged or broken doors and screens.
  • Wear light-colored clothes with long sleeves and long pants.
  • Close garage doors at night.
  • Wear insect repellent. The Environmental Protection Agency has a web-based tool to help you find the proper insect repellent for your time spent outdoors.

If you have mosquito problems in your area, please visit DHEC’s mosquito information page and click on “Local Mosquito Control” for a list of local mosquito control agency contacts.

DHEC in the News: West Nile, septic tanks, abandoned boats

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

DHEC: West Nile and Mosquitos Still a Problem in SC

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)–The calendar may say October but the temperatures have felt more like the middle of summer and that’s why State Health and City officials don’t want you to let your guard down when it comes to mosquitos.

DHEC says there has been an increase in the number of mosquitos infected with West Nile this year.

According to DHEC, human cases of West Nile have been confirmed in Anderson, Beaufort, Greenville, Horry, Laurens, Lexington, Richland, Spartanburg, Union, and York counties.

General Interest

Plan underway to eliminate septic tanks, decrease sewage leaks

In a move to stop sewage from leaking into our local waterways, a local town is offering financial assistance for people to get rid of septic tanks.

It’s a picture perfect place to paddle board, but be careful not to ingest the water around Shem Creek.

Tired of seeing Hilton Head’s Broad Creek used as a ‘Dumpster’? 3 residents step up to remove abandoned boats.

After waiting nearly a year, a group of Hilton Head Island residents are taking it upon themselves to clean up boats that were abandoned in the Broad Creek.

After Hurricane Matthew destroyed Palmetto Bay Marina last year, the number of boats moored in the Broad Creek nearly doubled. The legal process to deem the boats abandoned only started a couple weeks ago and will take months to complete.