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Diseases & Topics

Precautions for Minimizing Pesticide Exposure During Mosquito-Control Spraying

Mosquitoes need water to breed, and the flooding after a hurricane or prolonged, heavy rains can lead to a big increase in mosquitoes. To protect people from mosquito-borne diseases, pesticides or insecticides may be sprayed from trucks or airplanes to kill adult mosquitoes.

Although a person's chances of experiencing any health effects from mosquito spraying are quite low, it is wise to take the following steps to reduce exposures to insecticides during spraying:

  • Know the spray schedule — pay attention to the local TV, radio and newspapers for announcements about spraying.
  • Remain indoors when pesticides are sprayed in your immediate area.
  • Keep children inside during spraying and for at least one hour after spraying ends.
  • Do not let children play near or behind truck-mounted pesticide applicators.
  • Close windows and doors before spraying begins.
  • Window-unit air conditioners should be turned off or set to "recirculate" mode so outside air does not come into the house during the spraying. Leave them off for at least one hour after spraying ends, or continue to operate on the recirculate setting for an hour.
  • If you must remain outside during spraying, avoid getting spray in your eyes or on your skin.
  • If you get insecticide in your eyes, immediately rinse them with water.
  • Wash exposed skin surfaces with soap and water if you come in contact with the insecticide.
  • Wash homegrown fruits and vegetables thoroughly before cooking or eating.
  • Cover outdoor tables and play equipment before the spraying begins, or wash them with soap and water after they have been sprayed.
  • Bring laundry and toys inside before spraying begins. (Wash these items with soap and water if exposed to insecticide during spraying.)
  • Before spraying, bring pets, pet food and water bowls inside and cover ornamental fishponds to avoid direct exposure to the spray.
  • Consult your doctor if you think you are experiencing health effects from the spraying. People who suffer from chemical sensitivities or feel spraying may aggravate a preexisting health condition may consult their physician or local health department.

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