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Staying safe from potentially deadly mosquito bites

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(WBNG) -- Last week Governor Andrew Cuomo released a plan to educate more New Yorkers about the dangers that mosquitoes can pose on a person's life. 

RELATED State starts awareness campaign for mosquito-borne diseases

For years, mosquitoes have been known to carry Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus, which according to Dr. James Holler, is known to live among the horse population in Syracuse. Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus, or Triple E, can then be transferred to your body from a mosquito bite.

Another virus is West Nile, while it may not be common in the Southern Tier, it's important to know about it. Overall Dr. Holler says you should listen to your body. "As always it's how you feel," said Dr. Holler. "How the illness is going should alert you if you should get a hold of your doctor."

Dr. Holler, who is a partner of Endwell Family Physicians also warns about Zika Virus. "Some of the newer viruses that we've been talking about in the past year or two, like the Zika Virus, can cause specific difficulties for the developing fetus inside the mom."

Dr. Holler advises all pregnant, or expecting mothers, to be aware of where they may be traveling to. Summer vacations in the southern half of the United States may be more prone to these illnesses. 

If you get a fever or don't feel well after a bug bite, it's important to get it checked out by the doctor immediately. There are treatments available that could saves lives. 

"If the area gets progressively more red and painful and sore, and you get things like fevers then you want to get that looked into," explained Dr. Holler. "Most bites are just itchy," said Dr. Holler. "If you feel fine you're probably going to be okay."

The New York State Health Department provides the following tips to reduce the risk of infection from mosquito-borne diseases:

  • Cover your skin as completely as possible while outside when mosquitoes are present and active. Wear long sleeves, pants and socks.
  • Use insect repellent recommended for use on exposed skin.
  • Always follow label directions before using any kind of repellent.
  • Reduce or eliminate all standing water in yards.
  • Remove discarded tires and turn over containers in which water can collect.
  • Make sure all windows and doors have screens and are free of rips, tears or holes.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs.
  • Drain water from pool covers.
  • Clean vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds. 
  • Larvicide can be used according to label directions on areas where water collects and cannot be removed or drained - see guidance here.

"Some of the insecticides products you should be careful with little children," said Dr. Holler. "It shouldn't be applied directly to their skin because those products could be toxic. You can apply it to their hats, and you know collars and sleeves and effectively keep the insects away from you by putting insecticide on your clothing."

Dr. Holler said DEET is the most effective, as long as you apply appropriate amounts. 

Ticks are also a concern in the warm weather. "Mosquitoes like water-borne areas and ticks, anywhere that deer and any wildlife are bound," said Dr. Holler.

RELATED : TICK SEASON: Tips on what to do about ticks this year

"If you're going to go to a poorly groomed area like a park, or other places to hike those are just tick havens," said Dr. Holler. "Of course with deer in our backyard, many of our backyards are now tick havens too."

Along with deer, pets can carry ticks as well. It's important to monitor their health as well, that includes checking out their fur.

"We all like to pet our pets and that's the time that I usually look down, make sure there's no ticks there and if there are occasionally I'll pull them right off," said Dr. Holler, who recommends putting a Band-Aid over a bite so your dog, cat or you won't be able to itch it ad cause an infection.

"If you dig at them you can often times create a hole, and that's where the bacteria, that's always on our skin, can get in," explained Dr. Holler.

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