Skip Global navigation and goto content

It's a New Day in Public Health.

The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county & community efforts.

Skip MegaMenu and goto content

Protecting Against Mosquito-borne Diseases

By Pamela Acosta-Torres

September 02, 2021

HEALTH OFFICIALS URGE MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESSES AWARENESS 

Contact:
Pamela Acosta-Torres

PamelaAcostaTorres@flhealth.gov

(863) 578-2146

Bartow, Fla.— The Florida Department of Health in Polk County (DOH-Polk) officials emphasize the importance of Florida’s residents and visitors protecting themselves against mosquito-borne diseases, such as West Nile virus disease. The public should remain diligent in preventative measures like “Drain and Cover.”

 DRAIN standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.

  • Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected.
  • Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren't being used.
  • Empty and clean birdbaths and pet's water bowls at least once or twice a week.
  • Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
  • Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.COVER skin with clothing or repellent.
  •  
  • Clothing - Wear shoes, socks, and long pants and long-sleeves. This type of protection may be necessary for people who must work in areas where mosquitoes are present.
  • Repellent - Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing.
    • Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone and IR3535 are effective.
    • Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.

Tips on Repellent Use

  • Always read label directions carefully for the approved usage before you apply a repellent. Some repellents are not suitable for children.
  • Products with concentrations of up to 30 percent DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) are generally recommended. Other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved repellents contain picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone or IR3535. These products are generally available at local pharmacies. Look for active ingredients to be listed on the product label.
  • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin, or onto clothing, but not under clothing.
  • In protecting children, read label instructions to be sure the repellent is age-appropriate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol should not be used on children under the age of three years. DEET is not recommended on children younger than two months old.
  • Avoid applying repellents to the hands of children. Adults should apply repellent first to their own hands and then transfer it to the child’s skin and clothing.
  • If additional protection is necessary, apply a permethrin repellent directly to your clothing. Again, always follow the manufacturer’s directions.

COVER doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house.

  • Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios.

To determine which repellent is right for you, consider using the U.S. Environmental Protection

Agency’s search tool for skin-applied repellent products:

https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you#searchform. (opens in new window)

DOH continues to conduct statewide surveillance for mosquito-borne illnesses, including West

Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis, Malaria and Dengue. For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit DOH’s Web site at Mosquito-Borne and Other Insect-Borne Diseases or call your local county health department.

Residents of Florida are encouraged to report dead birds via the website for Surveillance of

Wild-bird Die-offs located at https://public.myfwc.com/FWRI/AvianMortality/Vue.aspx. (opens in new window)

Florida Emergency Information Line: 1-(800)-342-3557

Public Information Emergency Support Function: (850) 921-0384