West Texas and the Panhandle are Facing Their Deadliest Creature
Summertime, it's means sun, fun, water, and excitement. People just seem happier in the summer until they face danger. Let's face it even though we get to bask in the sunshine, we have to deal with the deadliest creature in the area.
No, it's not rattlesnakes, coyotes, rabid animals, or even an angry fox. It is a minuscule, tiny creature that wants to kill you.
The mosquito is one of the deadliest creatures in our area. It lives off the blood of mammals and it carries multiple diseases. The thing about the mosquito is that it can attack and you won't even know it until it is too late.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls mosquitoes the “world’s deadliest animal.” More than 700,000 deaths worldwide happen every year due to mosquito-transmitted diseases.
According to the Texas Mosquito Control Association there are 88 varieties of mosquitos in Texas.
Mosquitoes carry deadly diseases.
The West Nile Virus is mainly found in birds and transmitted from birds to humans by mosquitoes. Most people who contract the virus won't develop symptoms. One in 5 will notice symptoms similar to the flu, and 1 in 150 people infected will develop serious, sometimes fatal, illnesses. Those over 50 years of age are 10x more likely to contract West Nile while those over the age of 80 are 43x more at risk. At this time there isn't a vaccine to prevent West Nile Virus you just have to protect yourself from mosquitoes.
The Zika Virus mostly spreads through mosquitoes but it can also be spread through sexual contact. Much like the West Nile Virus, most who have contracted the Zika Virus won't notice any symptoms or will have mild symptoms. The Zika virus can cause microcephaly which is a serious birth defect. Pregnant women who contract Zika can pass the virus to their unborn baby.
The mosquito is also dangerous to your pets. The mosquito can spread heartworms. So the best way to protect your pets is to make sure they are taking their heartworm medication which you can get through your local vet clinics.
With all the rain that the area has been receiving lately means that mosquitoes will be extremely bad, in fact, they are already swarming in some areas.
Tips for Dealing with Mosquitoes
To prevent the bite of this nasty creature:
- Use EPA insect repellents, especially those that contain DEET.
- Cover up with long-sleeve shirts and pants
- Close doors and windows or install screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
The CDC recommends doing the following around your home:
- At least weekly, empty or remove trash cans, buckets, old tires, pots, plant saucers, and other containers that hold water.
- Keep gutters clear of debris and standing water.
- Remove standing water around structures and from flat roofs.
- Change water in pet dishes daily.
- Rinse and scrub vases and other indoor water containers weekly.
- Change water in wading pools and bird baths several times a week.
- Use mosquito dunks with larvicide for water that can’t be emptied or covered.
- Keep backyard pools and hot tubs properly chlorinated and free of debris.
Cover trash containers.
- Water lawns and gardens carefully so water does not stand for several days.
Screen rain barrels and openings to water tanks or cisterns.
- Treat front and back door areas of homes with residual insecticides if mosquitoes are abundant nearby.
- If mosquito problems persist, consider pesticide applications for vegetation around the home.
Most cities have departments that specifically fight the mosquito and outbreaks
The City of Amarillo larvicides in areas across the city on a regular basis during mosquito season. The City of Lubbock has vector control for mosquitoes. Check with your local city to find out about their mosquito prevention procedures.
Take care of yourself because mosquito season is here and they are already attacking multiple times per day.
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