As high school football begins, amid the West Nile virus outbreak, local schools are looking to protect players and fans. Go the any given football game, look up at the lights, and you'll understand why health officials are concerned about the West Nile virus there.
You're likely to see all manner of insects when you go to a game, including mosquitoes. In Quitman, they've already seen one human case of the West Nile. That's why as they prepare for their season opener next week, the football team is as concerned about mosquitoes as it is the game plan.
The school district has bought mosquito spray with DEET in it that is sprayed on players before they practice, and will also be used when they play.
Head football coach, James Holloman, said the team will be ready for the home opener on Sept. 6. He says maintenance is going to great lengths to get rid of standing water around the field and school.
Health officials like Dr. Margaret Morrison of the Mississippi Department of Health District Office said that spraying around the fields before the game is also a good idea, but ultimately, fans must take care of themselves.
Health officials believe the outbreak will end within the next six weeks to two months, but until then, they remind you to take all precautions when you're outside, for a football game, or anything else.
Lauderdale County has received one of two mosquito-spraying machines that the board of supervisors agreed to buy earlier this week. Lema Director Clarence Butler said spraying will begin tonight at 7p.m., and continue daily, except Sundays.
"We're spraying around all the schools, daycare centers and then we'll kind of drop back maybe and do some other areas," said Butler. "Starting at the outer limits of the city limits and start going out. But we're going to cover every part of the county as much as possible."
Butler said the county ordered a prepared solution for a quick start, but may mix its own in the future, to save money.
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Mosquito Protection Tips
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, hats and boots to reduce exposed skin.
- Limit outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.
- Apply repellent liberally to all exposed skin areas.
- Apply repellents to clothing, shoes, tents, mosquito nets, and other gear.
- Use mosquito coils (ensure coils do not contain DDT).
- Sleep in well-screened areas whenever possible.
- Ensure that door and window screens fit tightly and do not have holes.
- Insect repellents that contain 30-35 percent DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) will provide adults with sufficient protection. The concentration of DEET in a repellent should not exceed 35 percent. Products with lower concentrations of DEET are effective but for a shorter period of time.
- Reducing the amount of standing water on your property can significantly decrease the potential for mosquito breeding around your home.
- Common breeding sites may include garbage cans, clogged roof gutters/drainage ditches, birdbaths, pool covers, flowerpots, tires, tarps, rainwater barrels, wading pools etc.
- Containers that may accumulate water should be removed or holes drilled in the bottom.
- Pools should be maintained and ornamental pools aerated or stocked with fish.
Source: www.lambtonhealth.on.ca/environmental/mosquito.asp contributed to this report.