“Be Careful”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana
Being able to be outside and enjoy our flowers and plants is one of the reasons we are willing to work so hard in our gardens. We often forget that there are several precautions that we need to take when gardening to stay healthy. Sunscreen and tetanus shots are two that quickly come to mind. Skin cancer seems to be so prevalent now, and using sun screen is especially important now. Lyme disease is another problem in many areas. One recent disease that is concerning our area right now is West Nile. It has been around here for a few years, but with the recent rains, it has flared up again. Two people in our town has been diagnosed with the bad form of West Nile disease, and the authorities have said that one third of the mosquitoes tested in the last two weeks have been positive for the disease.
The mosquitoes had not been bad at all this summer until the rains started about three weeks ago, then the population exploded. Because of the New Orleans area’s history with mosquito borne diseases, mosquito control has been an ongoing battle for years. Spraying for mosquitoes either by truck or aerial has been a summer time reality for decades. We heard the mosquito plane late last week, and the next day saw a tremendous reduction in the population of the annoying, biting critters. But, with the rain the last few days, I noticed that yesterday they were back, but not as bad.
Most people who get West Nile have a very mild case, some not even aware they have had it. But, it can also be life-altering or fatal if you get the form that causes encephalitis. The first year it showed up around here many people were infected, and our bird population was hit hard, too. This is nothing to fool around with. It was 1999 when it first showed up in the United States, and West Nile is now in every part of the country.
So, enjoy summer outside activities, but please remember to use insect repellant when working outside in your garden especially if this disease has been reported in your area.