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Mosquitoes are getting a lot of attention lately. The Zika virus is grabbing headlines with its impact in Central and South America and beyond. As the temperature and amount of rain increases, so does the worry about the health impact these bugs can bring to Florida.

Zika is not the only health-threatening virus that is transmitted by mosquitoes. Dengue, Chikungunya and West Nile are also spread by these insects that live in Florida year-round. Since there are no specific medications to treat most of these viral diseases, your best option is to limit your exposure to mosquitoes. In Orange and Seminole counties, officials have already requested enhanced mosquito control efforts by hiring more workers to spray neighborhoods. But there are also measures you can take to limit mosquito breeding around your home and protect yourself from their bites:

  1. Clear all opportunities for standing water around your home. Things like flower pots that don’t drain well, garbage cans, dog water bowls, tires, bird baths and kiddy pools are favorites for mosquitoes to lay their larva.
  2. Use a mosquito repellent when outdoors. Look for repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, some oil of lemon eucalyptus or paramenthane-diol. Check to be sure the repellent is EPA approved.
  3. Cover up when outdoors with long sleeves and pants.
  4. If you open doors or windows to your home, be sure your screens are in good condition to keep mosquitoes out.

Some mosquito-transmitted viruses have no symptoms or very mild ones. You should see a doctor if you develop a fever, joint pain or swelling, vomiting, headache, tremors, eye pain or vision problems.

Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus, and the newest one in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.


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