Be Careful

“Be Careful”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


Peach Hibiscus (redu)


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.



  1. Randy said,

    July 31, 2009 at 6:07 am

    Odd that you should mention this subject. I was cutting grass yesterday and was being bombarded by mosquitoes in the middle of the afternoon. I don’t ever remember that happening before. I’m not a fan of pesticides because of bees and butterflies, but I’m seriously considering spraying the beds.

    • Jan said,

      July 31, 2009 at 7:20 pm

      A few years back, the mosquitoes were so bad here that occasionally I had to spray, Randy. This was before we had the local government take control of mosquitoes. I hate pesticides, but sometimes they are necessary when you can’t even go outside without being bitten all up. I did spray in the early evening to try and not get the beneficial insects.

  2. Tyra said,

    July 31, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Thank you for once again an excellent post with a good advice.
    Have a lovely bugfree weekend/ xoxo Tyra

    • Jan said,

      July 31, 2009 at 7:20 pm

      Thanks, Tyra. You have a great weekend, too.

  3. Patsi said,

    July 31, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Good reminder !

    • Jan said,

      July 31, 2009 at 7:23 pm

      Patsi, if you aren’t in an area with a lot of mosquitoes, sometimes people just don’t think about it. My nephew just recently was diagnosed with Lyme’s disease. Thank goodness he went to the doctor very early. I guess we all need to be careful.

  4. Joy said,

    August 1, 2009 at 6:45 am

    Jan .. I get bitten first thing in the morning .. there is a bit of dew on the grass .. it is cooler and “they” are out there waiting for the walking dinner plate ?? LOL
    Seriously .. I do understand what a problem this is .. I am going to ask for screening for Lyme disease .. with all the chronic conditions I have, what if this is hiding in my sytem too.
    Thank you for making me think about this girl !

    • Jan said,

      August 2, 2009 at 6:41 pm

      Joy, I am glad to give you a heads up on this. I know our mosquitoes are most active in the early mornings and evenings. The authorities recommend wearing long sleeved shirts and long pants, but with our high heat, that is just impossible.

  5. Tatyana said,

    August 1, 2009 at 9:31 am

    My garden is usually mosquito free. The weather is hot and dry, but I have them now ! Aren’t they the mosquitos which were chased away from your area?!!!

  6. Jon said,

    August 1, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Jan, you are right on the money with cautions aboout health issues. I have just returned home today after nearly 5 months in the hospital. Haviing good health is a blessing not to be taken for granted.

    Jon on 8-1-09

    • Jan said,

      August 2, 2009 at 6:42 pm

      Jon, I am so glad to hear from you. I was worried when you hadn’t posted on your blog or left a comment here in a long time. Hope everything is okay for you now.

  7. Jake said,

    August 2, 2009 at 12:09 am

    This is a nice reminder, however I feel sometimes the repellent attracts them, lol. They haven’t been bad since the begining of June, plus we have been pn the drier side then moist side.


    • Jan said,

      August 2, 2009 at 6:44 pm

      Jake, we didn’t have any until the rains started, then it was Katie bar the door. I hate to put insect repellent on unless I am going to be outside for a while, but lately, even if I am out in the garden for only a short time, I need the repellent. Better to be safe than sorry.

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