After the rains, watch for mosquitoes



By W. Stephen Love, President/CEO, DFW Hospital Council
Mark Twain once said, “Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.” That certainly describes this stormy past month of May in Texas. We express our heartfelt sympathy to the victims and their families in the recent floods. We also know homes, property and personal items were destroyed, creating hardships on many Texans.

Now that it appears we have a break from the rains, we need to remember the aftereffects of such storms. One such threat is a potentially deadly pest called the mosquito. Steve Presley, a professor in the Texas Tech University Institute of Environmental and Human Health, recently said “With the floodwaters in Houston, Dallas and off the Cap rock, mosquito numbers are going to be big this year.” That is not good news. We should all know mosquitoes are the culprits that spread the West Nile virus, but they also spread the encephalitis virus, chikungunya and malaria.

Every summer we strive to take preventive action regarding mosquito bites, but this year we need to emphasize protection and precaution within our communities. Helpful hints include:
• use insect repellents when you go outside;
• if weather permits, wear long sleeves, long pants and socks;
• empty standing water in flower pots, buckets, pool covers, etc.;
• report dead birds to local authorities as they may be an indication that West Nile is circulating in the area.

Public health is everyone’s business. Remind your friends and neighbors about reducing mosquito bites in the summer of 2015. Let’s keep this topic as a top priority throughout the season, wet or dry.