In last week’s blog, we talked about all the ways you can keep your employees and yourself safe from the summer sun – and while heat protection is always big on anyone’s list, so should be protection from insects, vegetation and the unpleasant things often found lurking in rock piles.

According to a report in June’s Journal of Medical Entomology, the mosquitos that carry Zika virus and other illnesses showed up in 38 more counties in the U.S. in 2016.

Mosquitos that carry the  Zika virus are not yet known to have shown up in South Dakota, but West Nile virus is here.

According to the South Dakota Mosquito Information Systems website, ( here’s what you can look forward to this week.

For the week of July 17th,  around 2% of cases typically occur during this week, and around 12% of total cases for the year, about 1 in 8, usually occur before the end of the week.

These sicknesses are more than just a mosquito bite.  They are serious diseases that can cause debilitating side effects and even death. THERE ARE NO VACCINES OR MEDICINES FOR THESE DISEASES.

The Centers for Disease Control offer these protective tips:

Use insect repellent: Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent with one of the following active ingredients. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

  • DEET
  • Picaridin, also known as KBR 3023Bayrepel, and icaridin
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus(OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  • IR3535
  • 2-undecanone

Cover up: Wear light colored long-sleeved shirts and long pants.  Don’t forget a cover for your head, and of course, work gloves.  Remember, covering up will not only help protect you from insects, but will also protect you from the sun.   You’ll be warm, but remember to constantly hydrate.  Water remains your best friend.

Remember that mosquitos are most active at dawn and dusk.

Covering up will also protect you from poison sumac, poison ivy, poison oak, nettles and any number of other nasty vegetation species.

Last, but certainly not least, are those slithering snakes.   If you think they’re only on the ground, you’re wrong.  Many of them can climb trees.  Keep a sharp lookout – coming face to face with one while you are pushing a backhoe would be eye opening, to say the least.   Snakes love tall grass, brush piles, rock piles – anywhere they feel safe and it’s out of the sun.   Always wear work gloves and heavy work boots.   Keep a snakebite medic kit with your work crew, and know how to use it.

Until next time, safe digging!

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