Health experts are urging local residents to take action to help defend against mosquitoes which are rising in numbers following the floods in the region.
According to Maryborough District Health Service Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Robyn Wilson, is important for everyone to know what to do to help reduce the risk of getting sick from diseases that are spread by mosquitoes.
Mosquito-borne diseases can make people ill and, in severe cases, can even cause death.
“It doesn’t take much stagnant water for mosquitoes to breed,” said Ms Wilson.
“The recent floods, combined with warmer days and continued wet weather make ideal breeding conditions,” said Ms Wilson.
“We want people to be aware of the things they can do to protect themselves because mosquitoes carry diseases that may be passed onto other people when they bite.
“People often think about mosquito-borne diseases in tropical areas. Here in rural and regional Victoria we see cases of Murray River encephalitis, Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus, Dengue virus and more recently Japanese encephalitis.
“The best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family is to beat the bite. Avoid being bitten by following a few simple steps, with some extra precautions for children.” she said.
These tips include:
- Cover up and wear long, loose-fitting clothing – mozzies can bite through tight clothing.
- Use mosquito repellents containing picardin or DEET on all exposed skin. Always read and follow the directions on the label.
- Remember mosquito repellent is not water-resistant like most sunscreens and must be reapplied after swimming.
- Limit outdoor activity if lots of mosquitoes are about.
- Remove stagnant water where mosquitoes can breed around your home or campsite.
- Maintain fly screens on doors and windows around the home and make sure holiday accommodation is fitted with mosquito netting or screens.
- Use ’knockdown’ fly spray, mosquito coils or plug-in repellent where you gather to sit or eat outdoors.
Children and babies
- Apply a thin, even layer of mosquito repellent to all exposed skin, avoiding hands, eyes and mouth – never allow young children to apply their own repellent.
- Choose a lower-strength repellent for young children and babies (no more than 20% picaridin or DEET)
- If your child has sensitive skin (or is bothered by the smell of DEET) use picaridin or apply repellent to their clothes instead. On babies you might need to spray or rub repellent on their clothes instead of their skin.
- Don’t forget to drape a mosquito net over the pram, stroller or infant carrier with no gaps!
Symptoms of mosquito-borne diseases like Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus, detected in regional Victoria, include stiffness, headache, fever, rash and fatigue.
If you are concerned about your health make an appointment with your local GP or phone Nurse-on-call on 1300 60 60 24. Learn more about how to protect against mosquitoes at betterhealth.vic.gov.au.
Reviewed by the Chief Executive Officer to ensure it meets caretaker conventions ahead of the Victorian state election on 26 November 2022.
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