Heavy Rain Increasing Mosquito Population

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The rain this summer has been great for drought recovery, but has also been a boom for the mosquito population.

"This is a prime time, right after the monsoons...when we do get rain, this is one of those seasons where we're getting quite a bit of rain," Lee Griffen with the El Paso County Health Department said.

Mosquitoes aren't just annoying--they bring an increased risk of the West Nile virus. One woman from Ellicott is currently waiting confirmation that she has contracted the virus. She was bitten last week while inside her niece's home. If doctors confirm her symptoms are indeed the West Nile virus, she will be the first case in the county this year.

If bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus, it can take anywhere from five days to two weeks to show symptoms. Symptoms include a high fever, stiff neck, muscle weakness and headaches.

Prevention tactics include what health experts call the four Ds:

-DRAIN standing water around your house weekly. Don’t forget to drain water from tires, cans, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, toys and puddles.
-DUSK and DAWN are when mosquitoes that carry the virus are most active. Limit outdoor activities or take precautions to prevent mosquito bites during these times.
-DEET is an effective ingredient to look for in insect repellents. Always follow label instructions carefully.
-DRESS in long sleeves and pants in areas where mosquitoes are active.

Consumer Reports says if you use DEET, be sure to check out how much DEET is in the bottle. Consumer Reports says not to ever use a product that has more than 30 percent of DEET; more than 95 percent can have dangerous side effects like seizures and comas.

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