Mosquito-and tick-borne diseases are most commonly acquired from June to September, but Wilkes County residents can take proactive steps to eliminate mosquito breeding areas and prevent the likelihood of both mosquito and tick bites.

The Wilkes County Health Department is encouraging the public to remember the phrase, “tip and toss.”

To reduce mosquito breeding opportunities, tip standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires and birdbaths at least once a week.

Reduce tick habitat on your property by mowing frequently and keeping your yard clear of old furniture and other unnecessary debris. Toss it away, and you’ll improve the looks of things at the same time.

Clean up any trash or leaves that may be around your home or in rain gutters.

You can simply avoid tick habitats, such as wooded, grassy or brushy areas.

Be sure to tightly secure screens on all openings on rain barrels used for water conservation.

Use tick and mosquito repellent that contains DEET (or equivalent) on exposed skin and wear clothing treated with permethrin, a synthetic insecticide used against disease carrying insects.

If you find a tick attached, carefully remove it by grasping the tick with fine-tipped tweezers as close as possible to your skin and apply a steady gentle pull until it releases.

Mosquito-proof your home by installing or repairing screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes outside, and use air conditioning if you have it.

Infections from ticks and mosquitoes are common in North Carolina. In 2018 alone, 856 cases of sickness resulting from tick or mosquito bites either domestically-acquired and travel-associated were reported in the state. Among these 856 cases, 824 were tick-borne and 32 were mosquito-borne.

They included Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, LaCrosse Encephalitis and West Nile virus.

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