NEWS | Aug. 7, 2013

Got skeeters?

By Staff Sgt. Crystal Davis 628th Aerospace Medicine Squadron

Picture this - You're outside in your backyard at night grilling out with a few of your friends. As you're discussing Hugh Jackman's performance in the newest Wolverine movie, you feel something biting your leg. You look down to find a red, painful insect bite and immediately begin scratching in order to find relief. As you scratch your leg until it is raw, you realize that the mosquito could be mistaken for the state bird of South Carolina.

Summertime barbeques are primetime for many insects such as mosquitoes and ticks to make their unwelcome debut. Not only do they ruin your evening by forcing you indoors in order to avoid the constant attacks, but they also may carry diseases such as West Nile Virus, Dengue fever and Malaria.

And ticks are capable of transmitting Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Don't think it can happen to you? There were two confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in Charleston in 2012.

What is the best way for you to avoid these annoying, possible disease carrying pests? Limit the amount of time you spend outdoors during times of dusk/dawn when mosquitos are most active. If your need for a grilled cheeseburger is far too great, you can protect yourself by using an insect repellent containing at least 20 percent DEET. Also, if you are going to be in an area where there is a large number of mosquitoes and ticks, wear clothing that covers the majority of your body such as jeans, long sleeve shirts and sneakers. Make sure you examine yourself closely after leaving tick-infested areas as ticks can still find ways to latch on to you, often in hard-to-see places.

Finally, eliminate sources of standing water in your yard such as bird baths, old tires, buckets, etc., which can serve as mosquito breeding places.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding pest control or prevention contact your base Public Health office at 963-6960.