October 31, 2022

Beat the bite

The recent floods in Victoria pose a risk of increased mosquito breeding.

Mosquitoes can carry a number of diseases that can make people very ill and, in severe cases, can even cause death.

Simple precautions can help protect you and your loved ones against mosquitoes and the diseases they may carry.

Cover up by wearing long, loose-fitting clothing as mosquitoes can bite through tight clothing. Use repellents that contain picaridin or DEET on all exposed skin. Use mosquito nets or insect screens. Use ‘knockdown’ fly spray, mosquito coils or plug-in repellent where you gather to sit or eat. Limit outdoor exposure and move indoor if possible. If you are on holidays, make sure your accommodation is fitted with mosquito netting or screens.

Children are also vulnerable to mosquito bites. It is important they wear long, loose-fitting clothing when outdoors, and apply a thin even layer of mosquito repellent to all exposed skin, avoiding hands, eyes and mouth. Choose a lower strength repellent for young children and babies – no more than 20 per cent picaridin or DEET. Parents can drape a mosquito net over prams, stroller or infant carriers.

Mosquitoes can breed in even the tiniest amount of stagnant water. It is best to stay away from these places. If you are in a place where this is stagnant water – taking part in recovery efforts for instance – make sure you wear long, loose-fitting clothes and use repellents.

Elisha O’Dowd, Nurse Unit Manager, Infection Prevention and Surveillance, said, “Three years of La Nina weather patterns have triggered a rise in population of mosquitoes and vector-borne diseases. As we approach more rainy, warm weather, it is vitally important to protect ourselves and our families,” she said.

Associate Professor Joe Rotella said, “Prevention is key. For families who enjoy the great outdoors, consider travelling to areas further removed from the floods to minimise exposure to mosquitoes and possible disease. Furthermore, be mindful that mosquitoes will be more prevalent around local streams and creeks that may have increased in size after heavy rainfall.”

“Symptoms of diseases spread by mosquito include fever, headache, rash and sore/swollen joints. If you attend mosquito-prone areas and then develop these symptoms, please see your GP. Alternatively, you can speak to the Victorian Virtual ED here.”

To learn more about how you can protect yourself and your family, click here.