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Protect yourself from bug bites

• Jun 10, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Although you might think mosquitoes and ticks are just annoying and itchy, the diseases they carry can make you sick.

In fact, according to the World Health Organization, more than 1 billion cases of vector-borne diseases and 1 million deaths from vector-borne diseases occur annually worldwide. This summer, Huron County Public Health (HCPH) is encouraging residents to take steps to protect themselves against mosquitoes and ticks. Some helpful tips:

1. Clean up your yard: Empty and scrub out any containers that hold water, cover open vents, plumbing pipes, or open containers (like trashcans and rain barrels) and use mosquito dunks on standing water that cannot be removed. Regular removal of leaf litter and tall grasses/brush is also important.

Residents of Huron County can pick up a mosquito control kit at HCPH’s Environmental Division at 180 Milan Ave, Suite 8, Norwalk. Proof of residence in Huron County (for example, a utility bill or driver’s license) will be required. Individuals must have property with standing water that can’t be removed and agree to use the kit on their property only. Kits will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis and will be limited to one pack per household.

2. Keep bugs outside: Use screens on all windows and doors and stick to air conditioning when possible.

3. Protect yourself: Wear permethrin-treated long-sleeved shirts, pants, long socks and boots. Cover exposed skin with an EPA-registered insect repellant (20 to 30 percent DEET is best).

4. Play smart: Avoid wooded/bushy areas with high grass or leaf litter and walk in the center of trails.

5. Shower after spending time outdoors: Showering will rinse off unattached ticks and gives an opportunity to do your full-body check.

6. Check for ticks: Check your entire body daily and remove attached ticks promptly. Pay close attention to under arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, on the backs of knees, in and around the hair, between the legs, and around the waist. Don’t forget to check your clothes and your pets too.

7. Remove any found ticks: Safely remove any found ticks right away by using tweezers to grasp the tick close to the skin. With steady pressure, pull the tick straight up and out. Do not use a hot match, cigarette, nail polish, petroleum jelly or other products to remove a tick. Make note of the date and where the tick was removed. Notify your healthcare provider if a rash or other signs of illness develop.

For more information about bug bite prevention and other summer safety tips visit www.huroncohealth.com or follow HCPH on Facebook @HuronCoHealth.

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