Warning on insect bites

QUEENSLAND Health has warned local residents and tourists in the Emerald region to beware of mosquitoes, biting midges (commonly known as sand flies) and black flies in areas affected by flooding.

Whilst Council insect control programs may help reduce numbers, people still need to protect themselves to reduce the risk of being bitten in the next few weeks.

Central Queensland Public Health Unit Public Health Physician Dr James Smith advises minimising the risk of mosquito-borne disease and skin irritation by wearing loose, long-sleeved shirts and full-length trousers and using insect repellent on exposed skin.

“Mosquitoes can bite through tight clothing, so repellent is recommended even when wearing tight clothes,” Dr Smith said.

“People should also check that screens on their doors and windows are intact and that mosquitoes are not breeding in their own yards,” he said.

“It’s best to avoid going outside when biting insects are most active, particularly immediately before and after sunrise, late afternoon and for two to three hours after dusk. Some insects will also bite during daylight hours.

“While black flies and biting midge don’t carry disease, their bite can cause itching, swelling around the bite area and in some cases blistering. They can also cause great annoyance to domestic animals and cattle.

“In addition, extra care should be taken to watch out for spiders and snakes, as they may seek dry ground during heavy rain and floods.

“People should watch out when walking around or moving boxes, shoes and the like, or around sheds – any place a snake or spider may find a dry environment,” Dr Smith said.

Information on mosquito-borne diseases

  • Mosquito breeding increases after rain or flooding, and it is important that residents
    help prevent outbreaks of mosquito-borne disease.
  • Make sure you wear insect repellent to avoid being bitten – especially during dawn
    and dusk. Wear loose fitting clothing and ensure that all exposed skin is covered.
  • When cleaning up your house and yard, get rid of potential mosquito breeding sites to prevent outbreak of mosquito-borne disease.
  • Rain or floodwater may have collected in containers around your yard, so make sure
    you empty them and store them in a dry place or throw them away.

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