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Monday, July 25, 2011

Nicole Grundel

JC reminds residents to "Beat the Heat" & "Fight the Bite

The “dog days” of summer are here! That’s why the Jackson County Board of Supervisors and Health Department are reminding residents of two simple safety phrases- “Beat the Heat” and “Fight the Bite.”

“Beat the Heat”
According to the Health Department, prolonged high temperatures can cause serious illness among people of any age or level of health. Though the young, elderly, and those with chronic illnesses are at highest risk; everyone should take steps to prevent sunburn, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, dehydration, and skin cancer.

The Health Department reports air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. If a home is not air-conditioned, people can reduce their risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities with AC. If you’re outside with extended exposure to sunlight, here are some easy tips to “Beat the Heat.”

• Seek Shade: especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the Sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are strongest.
• Stay hydrated: water is best. Sports drinks can help, but avoid beverages with large amounts of sugar or alcohol.
• Wear appropriate clothing: lightweight, light colored, loose-fitting clothing, wide-brimmed hat, and wrap around sunglasses.
• Don’t leave children or pets in any vehicles, even if the windows are cracked. Inside car temperatures can reach 120 degrees and be deadly.
• Use sunscreen: SPF 30 or higher and UVA/UVB protection. Reapply sunscreen regularly.
• Pace yourself: schedule strenuous outdoor activities during the coolest times of the day. As temperatures warm, adjust your pace.

Outdoor summertime activities at the beach, baseball field, or even construction site must be balanced with measures that aid the body's cooling mechanisms. Take preventative steps to the beat the heat; or it may beat you. 

“Fight the Bite”
Another not so welcomed summer tradition in South Mississippi is the mosquito. A mosquito’s bite can be far more than an annoyance; it can cause West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses. Once again, there are several simple steps residents can take to “Fight the Bite.”

• Remove all standing water: around your home or work place. Even a half-cup of water can produce enough mosquitoes to cause a problem.
• Avoid peak times: mosquitoes feed the most at dusk and dawn.
• Use mosquito repellent: according to manufacturer’s directions.
• Wear protective clothing (loose long-sleeved shirts and pants): if you live or work near mosquito-prone areas.

“It’s important to take precautions against West Nile Virus, and all mosquito-borne diseases, throughout the peak mosquito reproduction months of July, August, and September,” said MSDH Acting State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers.

The County provides mosquito suppression throughout the unincorporated areas and all four cities through a contracted service. Currently, the County’s contractor is running more than 40 spraying routes each week using a combination of spray trucks (fogger) and aerial spraying. A vast majority of these routes are run late in the afternoon and early evening, six days a week.

“The frequency of these routes is determined by results from mosquito traps and residential phone calls,” Board President Melton Harris, Jr. explains. “Generally, calls from residents are usually responded to within three days.”

To report an unusually high volume of mosquitoes in your neighborhood, call Mississippi Mosquito Control at 228-497-6491.

The Health Department says the risk of a healthy person getting a mosquito-borne disease, like West Nile Virus, is very low. They warn symptoms of WNV infection are often mild and may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, a rash, muscle weakness or swollen lymph nodes.

For More Info
For more information on symptoms, prevention, and treatment of heat related illnesses or mosquito-borne illnesses visit the MSDH website at www.HealthyMS.com  or call the toll-free hotline at 1-877-WST-NILE (1-877-978-6453).

For additional tips to prevent mosquito bites around your home visit the County’s website at www.co.jackson.ms.us/departments/mosquito-control.php .


Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 by Nicole Grundel

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