Onondaga County Health Department Shares Tips to Prevent Mosquito and Tick-Borne Diseases

ONONDAGA COUNTY, MAY 26, 2023 – As the warm weather approaches, the Onondaga County Health Department emphasizes the importance of protecting ourselves and our community against mosquito and tick-borne diseases. 

Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Kathryn Anderson reminds residents, “as we head into the holiday weekend and enjoy spending time outdoors, it is important to take steps to safeguard our well-being by preventing mosquito and tick bites, which can transmit diseases such as West Nile Virus (WNV), Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and Lyme.” 

The Health Department has begun their annual mosquito surveillance and control program for 2023, and weekly data reports will begin in June. This program collects and tests mosquitoes for viruses including WNV and EEE virus. The program also uses larvicide (an insecticide) to control mosquito breeding in standing bodies of water. 

The Health Department is providing this list of simple prevention measures that can protect ourselves and our families. 

Personal Protection: 

  1. Be cautious during peak activity: Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. If possible, limit your outdoor activities during these times. 
  2. Wear long sleeves and long pants: When spending time outdoors, particularly in wooded or grassy areas, wear protective clothing that covers your arms and legs. Tuck your pant legs into your socks.  Light colors can help you better see any ticks that may be on you. 
  3. Protect your pets with flea and tick products. This may reduce the likelihood of fleas and ticks being brought into your home. Seek the advice of your veterinarian. 
  4. Apply insect repellent: Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents that contain DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone. Follow the instructions carefully and reapply as necessary. Use this EPA search tool to help you choose the repellent product that is right for you, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on proper use for safety and effectiveness.  
  5. Check for ticks: After being outdoors, thoroughly inspect your body for ticks. Pay close attention to hidden areas such as the scalp, behind the ears, and around the waistband. Promptly remove any ticks using fine-tipped tweezers. See how to safely remove ticks here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGrK4ZKUfhQ Also check your pets for ticks they may have carried in from outside.

Protection at Home: 

  1. Install or repair window screens: Ensure that all windows and doors have screens in good condition to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home. 
  2. Eliminate standing water: Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. Regularly empty, clean, or cover any outdoor containers that can collect water, such as flowerpots, buckets, and birdbaths. 
  3. Keep doors and windows closed: During peak mosquito activity, keep windows and doors closed, or use screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home. 
  4. Maintain your yard: Regularly mow the lawn, trim vegetation, and remove leaf litter. Ticks thrive in tall grass and shady areas. 
  5. Create a tick-safe zone: Consider creating a barrier of wood chips or gravel between your yard and wooded areas to reduce tick migration into recreational spaces. 
  6. Use mosquito dunks: Treat ornamental ponds, rain barrels, and other standing water sources with mosquito dunks or larvicides that specifically target mosquito larvae.

The Onondaga County Health Department encourages residents to follow these preventive measures to reduce the risk of mosquito and tick-borne diseases. By taking proactive steps, we can all enjoy the beautiful outdoors while staying healthy and safe. 

More Information and ResourcesFor more information about mosquito-borne illnesses or Lyme disease, contact the Onondaga County Health Department, Division of Environmental Health at 315.435.1649 or visit: 

Onondaga County Health Departmentongov.net/health/env/mosquitoes.htmlongov.net/health/env/lyme.html 

New York State Department of Healthwww.health.ny.gov/diseases/west_nile_virus/ www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/lyme 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)www.cdc.gov/westnile/www.cdc.gov/EasternEquineEncephalitis/www.cdc.gov/lyme/