Montgomery County, TN – Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett and Montgomery County Public Health Director Joey Smith, this week urged residents and business owners to start “Tip and Toss” and “SWAT” actions to prevent mosquito breeding grounds.
“Mosquito season has started in Tennessee, presenting potential health problems for residents who could be bitten by disease-carrying mosquitoes,” said Mayor Durrett. “To prevent mosquito breeding spots, we urge residents and business owners to do a cleanup near their homes and establishments, discarding or tipping over items than can unintentionally hold water that mosquitoes can use to lay eggs and multiply. A mosquito can lay her eggs in something as small as a plastic soda bottle top, so tossing these types of items into the trash could help prevent you or someone else from suffering a mosquito bite.”
Tennessee is home to many types of blood-sucking mosquitoes, including Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, which are capable of transmitting several serious diseases. At this time, mosquitoes in Tennessee are not transmitting Zika virus disease, which has been associated with birth defects. Mosquitoes here, however, are known carriers of other diseases seen each year in Tennessee, including West Nile and La Crosse encephalitis. They also carry dengue fever, yellow fever and Chikungunya virus although not currently in Tennessee.
“While there’s reason for concern and a need to prevent mosquito breeding places, there’s good news for all of us: Mosquito bites are entirely preventable,” said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Prevention starts with wearing long, loose and light clothing; treating exposed skin with safe and effective repellents; and using clothing treated with permethrin in risk areas. Now, more than ever, we all need to ‘fight the bite.’”
TDH recommends the following
- Apply repellants to skin often; these can include lotions, liquids or sprays. TDH and CDC recommend use of repellants which contain DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane 3, 8-diol and IR3535. Duration of protection varies by repellant; read labels on products to determine when reapplications are necessary for optimal protection. To learn more about insect repellants, visit http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/.
- Wear long, loose and light-colored shirts and pants and wear socks. Tucking shirts in pants and tucking pants into socks will help form a barrier. Wear closed shoes or boots instead of sandals.
- Treat clothing with permethrin or purchase pretreated permethrin clothing.
- Avoid perfumes, colognes and products with fragrances that might attract mosquitoes.
To prevent mosquitoes from breeding in larger water holding devices, such a bird baths or garden pools, TDH recommends using larvicides such as mosquito torpedoes or mosquito dunks. If used properly, larvicides will not harm birds or animals.
Mayor Durrett adds, “We can’t think of mosquito bites as mere nuisances; they could cause illness or even death, particularly among the very young, older people, or those with weakened immune systems. We owe it to our neighbors to tip, toss and SWAT near our homes and businesses, and to be more deliberate in our personal ‘fight the bite’ efforts.”