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AL.com: Mosquito Season in South Alabama One of the Worst Ever

April 5th, 2012

AL.com: Mosquito Season in South Alabama One of the Worst Ever

MOBILE, AL – Blame it on the rain, and the mild winter weather and the high tides. Those key elements have converged this winter and spring, health officials said, to create the best possible scenario for the pesky mosquito to prosper in coastal Alabama.

“It’s been a perfect year for mosquito breeding,” said Jerry Folse, director of the Division of Vector Control for the Mobile County Health Department. “It’s one of the worst ones I’ve ever seen.”

Folse, who lives close to the coast in southern Mobile County, said annual night sprays should begin in the next few weeks, as the health department works to control the mosquito population across a 12,000-square-mile area.

While mosquitoes that hatch out in urban areas can carry diseases, the ones bred in salt marshes are known to be more aggressive, Folse said, and hatch out in large numbers all at once.

“Hopefully,” he said, “We’re going to get a handle on them fairly quickly.”

Here are  some tips to keep in mind while going outdoors when mosquitoes are out in force, typically at dusk and dawn.

Other precautions residents can take to reduce mosquito annoyance include:

– Use a good mosquito repellant on arms, legs, and other exposed areas (some of the most reliable repellants contain the chemical DEET; repellants with high concentrations of DEET – over 10%, should not be used on children).

– Follow instructions carefully when using any insect repellent.

– Long sleeves and long pants used with a mosquito repellent helps to limit bites.

– Wear light-colored clothing (dark-colored clothing may help attract unwanted insects).

– Wear a hat or a cap (preferably light-colored).

– Be aware that aromatic (scented) cosmetics may also attract insects.

Mosquito bites can be treated with topical agents such as calamine and menthol lotions. Cortisone creams and oral antihistamines are available as over-the-counter medications that can reduce itching. Bites to children should be watched for secondary infections that might need to be treated by a physician.

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