A parent holding the hand of a child as they spray them with mosquito repellent.

Mosquito repellents are one of the measures you can use to protect yourself from mosquito-borne viruses.

Residents and visitors urged to protect against mosquitoes

Mar 13, 2024

Residents and visitors to the Mid North Coast are urged to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites after recent trapping detected a range of arboviruses in local mosquito populations.

North Coast Public Health Unit Associate Director Public Health, Robin Auld, said the detections, and an expected seasonal increase in mosquito numbers over the coming weeks, presented an increased risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases.

“Mosquitoes thrive in the wet, warm conditions much of the Mid North Coast is currently experiencing,” Mr Auld said.

“The best way to avoid these mosquito-borne diseases is to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes.

“While we are not seeing large numbers of notifications for illnesses just yet, we expect this to rise over the coming weeks as the mosquito numbers increase over the annual peak season.”

Mosquitoes in NSW can carry viruses such as Japanese encephalitis (JE), Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE), Ross River, and Barmah Forest.

The viruses may cause serious diseases that have symptoms ranging from tiredness, rash, headache, and sore and swollen joints to rare but severe symptoms of seizures and loss of consciousness.

People are encouraged to take action to prevent mosquito bites and reduce the risk of acquiring a mosquito-borne virus:

  • Apply repellent to exposed skin. Use repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Check the label for reapplication times.
  • Re-apply repellent regularly, particularly after swimming. Be sure to apply sunscreen first and then apply repellent.
  • Wear light, loose-fitting long-sleeve shirts, long pants, covered footwear and socks.
  • Avoid going outdoors during peak mosquito times, especially at dawn and dusk.
  • Use insecticide sprays, vapour dispensing units, and mosquito coils to repel mosquitoes (mosquito coils should only be used outdoors in well-ventilated areas).
  • Cover windows and doors with insect screens and checking there are no gaps.
  • Remove items that may collect water such as old tyres and empty pots from around your home to reduce the places where mosquitoes can breed.
  • Use repellents that are safe for children. Most skin repellents are safe for use on children aged from three months. Always check the label for instructions and safety precautions.
  • To protect infants under three months old, use an infant carrier draped with mosquito netting, secured along the edges.
  • While camping, use a tent with fly screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering or sleeping under a mosquito net.

Remember, Spray Up, Cover Up, and Screen Up, to protect from mosquito bites. For more information, visit the NSW Health website.

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