Mosquito season

Mosquito season

Here we are in the heart of summer, and  the gardens are  lush. Daylilies, beebalm and milkweeds are blooming. Tomatoes are thriving in the sun. And for now, the extreme heat and humidity have passed.  How wonderful it is to sit outside.

And now,  here come the mosquitos!  Not just a  nuisance, mosquitos can be  carriers of many diseases--among them, Zika, Dengue fever and West Nile virus.

While Zika and Dengue fever are spreading northward as the summers grow hotter and wetter, mosquitos carrying these diseases  are not in the Chicago area--yet.  West Nile virus mosquitos are here already, and spreading northward.  Last year, there was a case confirmed in Canada.

This year, mosquitos testing positive for West Nile virus have been reported in Lake County, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. The first human case of West Nile in Chicago area was reported in May and confirmed by IDPH in June, almost a month earlier than expected.

The good news about West Nile virus is that most people who are bitten by mosquitos will experience no symptoms. Some may feel aches and mild flu-like symptoms which can last for weeks. But for a few people the virus can be very serious, even fatal. 90 people  died last year in Illinois.  The most vulnerable people are those over 60, and people  with fragile immune systems.  You can read more about West Nile Virus here.

Since there is no vaccine or cure, prevention  is important.

Your  local Mosquito Abatement District (which your tax dollars pay for) will treat all street catch basins with larvicide every 7-10 days during the mosquito breeding season. They will also schedule spraying for adult mosquitos.  You can find out more about the Des Plaines Valley Mosquito Abatement District  which services western Cook County, including Oak Park, here.

In addition, here's what you can do--

wear long sleeve shirts and long pants

try not to  go out between dusk and dawn, when mosquitos are most active

repair any holes in screens so mosquitos can't get inside

wear mosquito repellant--Some people swear by Deep Woods Off, but you might want to look for DEET-free alternatives

use citronella candles if you are sitting outside

plant lemon balm, a natural mosquito repellant

remove standing water--check gutters and pools

And yes, you can  still find those stretchy mosquito repellant bracelets at Walgreens.  They come in many bright  summery colors.  I'm going to  get some this year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filed under: seasons, weather

Tags: mosquitos, West Nile Virus

Comments

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  • Summer is such a grand time of year, I guess the mosquitoes are there to remind us that nothing is perfect!

  • In reply to Kathy Mathews:

    Thanks for reading, Kathy! Oh yes, summer is the best of times. We just have to be mindful of the mosquitos...

  • Thank you for the information. I hadn't heard of the bracelets yet, but I'll look out for one (at least) now.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Thanks so much for reading. Yes, you can find these bracelets on sale in the Summer aisle at Walgreens...lots of fun bright colors...

  • Thanks. Walgreens is just my place right now, as usual.

  • P.S. Congratulations on inspiring our colleague Aquinas Wired.

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