The weather has turned hot, and the summer rains have made almost-daily appearances for weeks now.

This, to no one’s surprise, is mosquito season.

And mosquito season brings with it an increased risk of mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile virus.

The virus in many cases is contracted without the victim showing any symptoms. But in some cases, it can be debilitating or even fatal.

Local officials across south Louisiana either spray chemicals in an attempt to lessen the population of mosquitoes or hire companies to do it for them.

“We operate all year, but we are more active now due to the higher population of mosquitoes that come with the summer season,” said Steve Pavlovich with Mosquito Control Services. “We use several devices that help us monitor where mosquitoes are growing and which type of mosquitoes those are.”

And state officials try to monitor the cases of West Nile that might appear at hospitals. The problem is that so few people who get it even know they have it, so they never seek treatment.

Those are understandable large-scale approaches to the problem, but they might not keep you from getting West Nile or from suffering severe effects from it.

What can help keep you safe are some common sense actions you can take in and around your home and at work. These are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

First, rid your yard of any items that might catch and hold water – tires, appliances, old pots or furniture. That is where mosquitoes tend to breed. Not only will this lead to fewer mosquitoes around your house, it will also remove potential eyesores.

If you have to be outside, try to limit your outdoors activity during dawn and dusk, the times when mosquitoes are most active.

Use insect repellent that contains DEET.

Wear long-sleeve shirts and pants when outside.

If you experience symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiff neck or disorientation, go to a doctor or hospital.

We all know the aggravation and discomfort the swarming mosquitoes can bring us this time of year. And we also know the threat they can pose since the spread of West Nile began.

What too many of us don’t do is account for the threat and take steps to keep ourselves safe.

Be one of the smart folks who understand the danger and protect themselves from it.


Editorials represent the opinion of the newspaper, not of any individual.