(Decatur, IL) – The Macon County Health Department (MCHD), along with the Macon Mosquito Abatement District (MMAD) is reminding residents how to reduce mosquito bites as well as mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes can pose a serious health hazard to everyone, including your pets. West Nile virus is the most common mosquito-borne illness. The mosquitoes that are known to carry West Nile are called house mosquitoes. People who are bit by an infected mosquito may notice mild symptoms such as a low-grade fever or headaches and these symptoms may occur three to 14 days after the bite. It is important to know that four out of five people do not experience any symptoms.
Three simple ways to take precautions against mosquitoes is to practice the three “R’s” – reduce, repel and report.
Reduce- the number of mosquitoes by eliminating all sources of standing water outside your home where mosquitoes can breed. These items can include bird baths, wading pools, old tires, plant saucers, buckets, and any other containers.
Use screens on windows and doors. Repair any holes in the screens to keep mosquitoes from entering your home. Use air conditioning when available.
Repel- mosquitoes by using repellant. Repellant should include DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535. Wearing repellent all day can reduce your risk of contracting a mosquito-borne illness. For children under 3 years of age, check with your medical provider before using repellant.
When outdoors, cover your skin as much as possible by wearing shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeve shirts.
Report- areas that you see water sitting stagnant for more than a week.
To make a report about standing water, contact the Macon Mosquito Abatement District at (217) 875-2722. The Macon County Health Department also conducts surveillance of West Nile virus in dead birds that are fully intact without decomposition or bugs. If you find a dead bird, please call the Macon County Health Department at (217) 423-6988 ext: 1134.