Tag Archives: mosquitoes

Protect Yourself Against Mosquito-borne Illnesses Such As West Nile Virus

With DHEC announcing on August 1 that an individual in South Carolina was reported to be sick from West Nile virus — the first such occurrence in the 2018 mosquito season  — it is important to protect yourself and your family against mosquito bites.

Be sure to pay attention to the most effective ways to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses:

  • Repellents help keep mosquitoes from biting. Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to label instructions.
  • Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes.
  • Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, birdbaths, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls.
  • Wearing light-colored clothing to cover the skin reduces the risk of bites.

“If you develop fever or other symptoms after being bitten by a mosquito, you should contact your health care provider,” said Dr. Linda Bell, SC State Epidemiologist.

What are the symptoms of West Nile virus disease?

  • Febrile illness in some people. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.
  • Severe symptoms in a few people. Less than 1% of people who are infected will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues). The symptoms of neurologic illness can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis.

For more information about preventing mosquito bites and the spread of West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses, go to www.scdhec.gov/mosquitoes. Learn more about West Nile virus at www.scdhec.gov/westnile.

DHEC in the News: Air quality alert tips, opioids, invisible public health crisis in rural South

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

Safety tips when under an air quality alert

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) — Fighting off the heat is typical at this time of year but the battle can be extra hard for some people.

Wednesday, DHEC issued an air quality alert between 10 a-m and 8 p-m. Those most at risk for getting sick were small children, older adults and people with respiratory problems. And because it’s likely there will be more alerts this summer health officials have these tips:

Opioid crisis: Tega Cay police offer new way residents can safely dispose of meds

TEGA CAY – Local residents who have unused or expired prescription drugs can now safely dispose of them at home.

Misuse of opioid-based drugs continues to impact communities across the country.

So far this year, there have been 13 overdose deaths in York County, eight of which were related to opioids, said York County Coroner Sabrina Gast. Other deaths that are presumed to be overdoses are awaiting toxicology results. There were 550 drug overdose deaths involving opiates in South Carolina in 2016, a 7 percent increase from 2015 and an 18 percent increase from 2014, according to S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control

General Interest

The rural South’s invisible public health crisis

When Pamela Rush flushes her toilet, the waste flows out the back of her sky blue mobile home through a yellowing plastic pipe and empties just a few yards away in a soggy pit of mud, weeds, and dead grass.

On a hot day in mid-May, Rush walked around her yard in rural Lowndes County, Alabama. Flies and mosquitoes swarmed her as she tiptoed near the pit. The smell of sewage was overwhelming.

Rush, 48, a soft-spoken woman with striking brown eyes, has straight-piped her family’s waste into her yard for almost two decades. Her home is on the edge of clay dirt road in the dense Alabama forest, miles from a municipal sewer system. …

In the rural South, these conditions aren’t uncommon.

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.

DHEC in the News: Fireworks safety tips, insect-borne diseases, most-Googled health problems by state

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

DHEC offers July 4th Fireworks Safety Tips

COLUMBIA, S.C. – 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, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is urging everyone to put safety first if they are participating in any firework activities.

These insect-borne diseases are on the rise. Greenville County can help you prevent them.

West Nile virus, Lyme disease and even plague are among the many diseases spread to people by mosquitoes, ticks and fleas, and nationwide the number of these illnesses tripled between 2004 and 2016.

What’s more, nine new insect-borne infections were identified or introduced in the country during that time, according to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With summer bringing more time outdoors at backyard picnics, camping in the forest and lounging by the lake, the potential for getting one of these infections increases.

General Interest

The most-Googled health problems by state
The medical condition U.S. patients Googled most frequently in 2018 was attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, with nine states searching for this condition more than any other health concern, a report from Medicare Health Plans found. …

Here are the most-Googled health problems by state for this year …

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