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April showers bring May flowers and mosquitoes

The fourth month of the year is known for April Fools’ Day, Earth Day and the chance for daily rain showers. With additional rain frequencies comes an increase in the mosquito population.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is gearing up for another active 2018 mosquito season. To combat the increase in mosquito population, the STOF Health department will be closely tracking disease and mosquito traps on all reservations and will send out Tribal health alerts as needed. In the coming months, the STOF Health Department is to begin monitoring and conducting Tribal-wide surveillances on each reservation. We will spray all deserving areas by ground and air and treat individual homes on an as-needed basis.

Mosquitoes not only present a nuisance but they also carry diseases. As you may be aware, Florida is endemic to West Nile Virus, Zika, Dengue fever, Chikungunya, Equine Encephalitis and even Malaria. We remind all to take the necessary precautions to prevent mosquito bites.

We need your help in keeping the STOF community safe. We ask that you drain or toss out any containers in your yard that can possibly hold water for more than a few days. Mosquitoes can breed in containers less than one inch deep. Yard debris such as tires, buckets, rain barrels, tarps, un-kept pools and even plants such as Bromeliads can harbor mosquitoes and pose a significant health hazard in the community.

You can help reduce mosquitoes’ numbers by remembering to drain and cover.

Drain
Drain all standing water around the yard. Mosquitoes need only a small amount of water to breed. Empty cans, buckets, garbage cans, house gutters, flower pots, bottles, toys, plastic “kiddie” pools, lids, old tires, pool covers, barrels and any other container or item that holds water.

  • If you have a boat, turn it upside down if it’s small enough, or cover it if it’s too large to turn. Just make sure the boat cover doesn’t also hold water.
  • If you have a swimming pool, make sure to maintain it properly and run the pump every so often as mosquitoes do not like to breed in moving water.
  • Twice a week, make sure to empty or rinse out plants that hold water, such as bromeliads, pets’ water bowls and birdbaths.

Cover
Make sure your doors and windows are covered with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house. Protect infants with mosquito netting.

Avoid going outside when mosquitoes are most active, at dawn and dusk. If you do have to be outside, cover yourself up by wearing loose, light-colored clothing, preferably long pants and long sleeves, shoes and socks.

Use a repellent when you go outside. Follow the directions on the label. The best repellents use DEET or picaridin.

To summarize in a simple fashion, remember the five “Ds”:

  • Dusk and dawn: Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are seeking blood.
  • Dress: Wear clothing that covers the skin.
  • DEET: Use repellents containing DEET.
  • Drainage: Check your home and eliminate standing water where mosquitoes can breed.

To request a mosquito inspection or to report a mosquito complaint, call the Mosquito Hotline at 561-371-5643.

To obtain a free mosquito spray kit or should you anticipate an outdoor Tribal-related event, plese contact the STOF Health Department at least one week in advance at 954-985-2330 ext. 10614.

For medical information, including testing, please visit your Tribal reservation medical clinic.

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