FIGHT THE BITE: How to avoid mosquitoes after monsoon rains

FIGHT THE BITE: How to avoid mosquitoes after monsoon rains
With the Monsoon rains come mosquitoes, which can spread disease all across southern Arizona. (Source: Tucson News Now)

SOUTHERN ARIZONA - Are you ready to fight the bite?

Mosquito season is about to peak with the onset of monsoon rains, which means southern Arizona residents should be taking extra precautions to avoid being bitten, and the possibility of contracting a disease.

While most common mosquito-borne diseases in Arizona are West Nile Virus and St. Louis Encephalitis, cases of Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika have been identified due to travelers who bring the illnesses back from other areas.

Health departments from across Arizona monitor mosquito activity in the region.

In 2017, 15 traps were set up in populated areas across Cochise County and some mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile Virus and St. Louis Encephalitis.

Cochise County said it will expand monitoring efforts to include 24 traps this year.

Viruses are transmitted from person to person through an infected mosquito bite – a mosquito bites someone infected with the virus and becomes infected itself, then bites healthy people and infects them.

Symptoms for the most common diseases can start about one week after the bite and can include fever, chills, rash, joint/muscle pain, body aches, nausea and vomiting.

Zika can cause birth defects and as for most of the diseases spread by mosquitoes, there are no vaccines or cures.

If you are bitten by a mosquito and experience any of the symptoms described above, visit your doctor immediately.

To help protect yourself you should:

  • Wear bug spray, preferably with 30 percent DEET or stronger. Reapply as day goes by.
  • Make sure open doors and windows have intact screens.
  • Wear long sleeves and long pants when outdoors.
  • Remove standing water around the house and yard (such as old tires, bird baths, flower pots, children’s pools).
  • Protect yourself from mosquitoes while traveling to areas where these viruses are prevalent.

For more information about destination-specific health risks and recommendations visit https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list

For more information on mosquitoes visit www.azhealth.gov/mosquito