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Preventing Harmful Bug Bites

San Andreas, CA– The Calaveras County Public Health Department is reminding residents to take preventive steps to ensure a healthy spring season.


Recent rains and warming temperatures mean mosquito and tick season is here. Taking steps to reduce the chances of being bitten by these pests can prevent West Nile virus and Lyme disease.


The Health Department says that West Nile virus is established in Calaveras County.
“While local West Nile virus cases have not been reported recently, it is important to take preventive steps to avoid being infected,” said Calaveras County Health Officer Dr. Dean Kelaita.


West Nile virus is spread to people from the bite of an infected mosquito. Bites can be prevented by using an insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin. Limiting outdoor activities during dusk and dawn when the mosquitoes are most active and wearing protective clothing will also limit mosquito bites.


West Nile virus can be a serious illness, especially for people over 50 years and those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, weakness or paralysis.


The Public Health Department also recommends take preventive steps to avoid Lyme disease. People get Lyme disease from the bite of an infected tick.


“Avoid areas where ticks are likely to be,” advised Dr. Kelaita. “Walk in the middle of trails, tuck pants into your boots or socks, wear light colored clothing and use repellent. Just like for mosquitoes, repellents with DEET or permethrin work best.”


Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics. However it is important to get treatment early to avoid serious long term effects from a Lyme infection.


For more information, call the Calaveras County Public Health Department at 754-6460 or visit www.calaveraspublichealth.com


Written by tina.falco@mlode.com