Mosquitos are not much of an issue in East Tennessee yet, but many people may be planning to head out of town in the coming weeks for spring break. Some of those top destinations could put you more at risk for mosquito-borne illnesses.
At the Knox County Health Department, the one word they want everyone to remember as they pack their bags is “prevention.”
“You need to take mosquito repellent with you and it’s good to kind of look at where you’re traveling to and maybe check out some websites. CDC.gov has a great website,” said Connie Cronley, Epidemiology and Reporting Nurse.
The CDC can show you which areas may already be seeing mosquito-borne illnesses or have recently, like Miami, Florida, which is designated as a cautionary area for the Zika virus.
“We had a problem with the Zika virus throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, some areas of South America and some of those others, Chickengunya for one. Dengue in a few more select areas,” Cronley said.
If you have been to any of those areas and do get bitten by mosquitos, the health department says to keep an eye out when you get back.
“A lot of these mosquito-borne illnesses will start with a fever. You could have joint pain. You could have a rash,” Cronley said.
Most importantly they say the best thing is to remember prevention:
- Always use repellent, especially any kind with Deet.
- Do not use perfume, cologne or other scented products when outside.
- Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and long pants if possible.
- Empty standing water from outdoor containers.
- Use air conditioning and keep windows and doors closed or covered with screens.
- Use a bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.