How to keep mozzies at bay


A wet spring, and the forecast for a wetter than usual summer in eastern Australia could mean a hazardous mosquito season.

Dr Nirvana Luckraj, Healthdirect Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, says what is happening weather-wise can affect our health.

“Hot summers bring heat waves and bushfire smoke, and wet humid summers like the one predicted by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, bring mozzies,” he said.

“Mosquitos will give you an annoying itchy bite, which of itself isn’t dangerous, but they can also carry disease, which can affect your health.

“If a mosquito has previously bitten an animal carrying a disease that humans can pick up, such as Ross River Virus, the most commonly transmitted via mosquito in Australia, your health could be affected,” Dr Luckraj says.

Infection from mosquito borne diseases may cause illness ranging from mild to very serious. Illness may include flu-like symptoms such as:

*pain in muscles and joints

* rashes

* headaches and

* fever.

“If you feel unwell or develop a rash, flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, headaches, joint and muscle pains such as swelling or stiffness, fatigue or depression you should make an appointment to see your doctor. If you’re not sure, download the healthdirect app to check your symptoms and get advice.

“For kids, we know they can’t help scratching at the bite site, but they sometimes make it worse by opening the skin to germs and bacteria. Try washing the area with soap and water, applying a cold pack to help soothe local pain and swelling, and speak to your pharmacist or Dr about other treatments such as antihistamine medicines,” Dr Luckraj advised.

Try to lessen your chance of being bitten by mosquitoes and midges in the first place by covering up as much skin as possible, stay inside in the early morning or at dusk and use an insect repellent when you are out and about.