The boards of health in Whitman and Hanson have been notified of what has become a late summer tradition — a positive West Nile Virus positive mosquito sample in Hanson and Whitman. While the risk of human infections is low, certain steps should be taken to protect yourself, the boards have joined with the state Department of Public Health in recommending.
Chief among them is to be prepared: Repair screens, clean up to get rid of mosquito breeding sites, be aware of stagnant water on private property (e.g. unused swimming pools).
Residents should also wear mosquito repellent between dusk and dawn; wear long sleeves and long pants from dusk to dawn and to se mosquito netting on baby carriages and playpens.
Chief Timothy Clancy and the Whitman Fire Department also wish to remind Whitman residents of the important safety tips to avoid mosquito and tick bites.
Serious viruses including West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) can be spread by mosquitos in rare instances. Residents are also reminded to take care to prevent tick bites, as some ticks may carry diseases including Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Borrelia miyamotoi and Powassan virus.
The Whitman Fire Department wishes to share the following tips from the CDC, which can be used to prevent both mosquito and tick bites:
• Use insect repellents that are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and have one of the following active ingredients: DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone.
— Reapply insect repellent as directed and follow instructions on the label of the product.
— Apply sunscreen first and insect repellant second.
— Do not apply insect repellent on the skin beneath clothing.
— Parents, guardians and caregivers of babies and children are advised:
• Dress children in long layers to cover their arms and legs.
• Use mosquito netting to cover strollers and baby carriers outdoors.
Remember, when using insect repellent on a child:
• Follow the instructions on the label.
• Never use products that contain oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children under 3 years old.
• Never apply insect repellent on a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, cuts or irritated skin.
• To apply insect repellant to a child’s face, carefully spray it onto your hands and apply it to the skin.
• Consider buying permethrin-treated clothing and gear, or using permethrin to treat your clothing and gear.
• When temperatures allow, wear breathable long sleeve shirts and pants when hiking or participating in outdoor activities.
Residents are advised to prepare their homes and properties to avoid mosquitos from laying their eggs in the area, and to prevent insects from getting indoors. This can be done by maintaining screens and doors properly and repairing any holes, utilizing air conditioning where possible, and regularly checking your property for standing water and clearing it out. Mosquitos are known to lay their eggs in and around water.
Whitman Fire also stressed CDC tips for tick bite prevention.Remember that ticks live in grassy, bushy, or wooded areas and can also be found on animals. You can get a tick walking your dog, camping, gardening, hunting, in your neighborhood or in your backyard.
• Walk in the center of trails and avoid wooded areas with high grass and litter.
• Check your clothing and skin for ticks after being outside. When checking your body, be sure to look for ticks in the following areas:
— Under the arms
— In and around the ears
— Inside the belly button
— Back of the knees
— In and around hair
— Between the legs
— Around the waist
• To kill ticks that may be on clothing, tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes. If the clothes need to be washed first, use hot water.
• After being outdoors, examine gear and pets for ticks.
• Shower within two hours of being outdoors.