Manitoba Summer and Mosquitoes
Summer here in Manitoba is almost synonymous to mosquitoes. I grew up in the Philippines where mosquitoes are a-plenty, but the skeeters here are big, as in huge. Summer last year was very dry and hot and I hardly noticed them skeeters. But this summer, it’s been humid so far and raining a lot. I guess standing water is being left in everyone’s yards – perfect breeding ground for these West Nile virus carriers.
Last week, my nine-year old son, Ryland, would come home from school scratching from his mosquito bites. I think it was on Tuesday when he asked me to put cream on the bumps on his legs. The following morning, he was still itchy and the bumps were a little bigger and he came home that afternoon with more mosquito bites. Then I remember that it’s Vicks Vaporub Ointment that works best on mosquito bites. Ryan, my 13-year old, was laughing at me. But it’s true my dear readers. Vicks Vaporub is not just a cough suppressant. When I was still in the Philippines, I would apply Vicks Vaporub on my bites and they’d work. It worked on Ryland’s bites, too. His bumps had decreased in size even before he went to bed that night. But those pesky mosquitoes kept biting him and he’d always come home with bumps on his legs.
I remember when he was two years old. I used to bring him to daycare. The caregivers would bring the kids outside to play and Ryland loved going in the bushes and he’d always be covered with mosquito bites. One time he was bitten on the right eye and it got swollen. His eye was shut close for a few days. Of course I didn’t want to apply the Vicks ointment on his eye. I brought him to the pediatrician and that’s when I learned that he was allergic to mosquito bites. Benadryl did the job.
The houses here in Winnipeg are built with screen windows and doors. So we don’t really need to put up mosquito nets at night like we used to do in the Philippines.
These past two days though, we’ve been seeing a few mosquitoes in the house. I don’t know how they managed to get in. Upon inspection, I saw a couple of tiny holes in our screen windows. But they could also have sneaked in through the open doors when we come in and out of the house.
It’s a good thing that the City has started night fogging. City crews get on their trucks and spray the insecticide malathion around the city at night when people are asleep. And although the amount of malathion being sprayed is not large enough to affect organisms much bigger than mosquitoes, there are always protesters to fogging. A couple of years ago, folks in the Wolseley area put up a barrier to block the fogging trucks. Now, Winnipeggers who don’t want their homes fogged can call the City and ask for a no-malathion buffer zone.
I personally want to have my neighbourhood sprayed, because those mosquito bites are annoying. I also want my family to be protected from the West Nile Virus. Although, I learned that it’s only the Culex mosquito that could carry this virus. I also learned from this website that “Most people who are bitten by an infected mosquito do not become ill and for those who do, the symptoms are usually mild. In some cases, the virus causes serious illness and sometimes death.”
I was talking to my friend Dorothy last week and she said she knew somebody who died from West Nile Virus last year. Alright, the guy was in his 80’s and he was also diabetic. But I think it wouldn’t hurt to take precautions, right? So I better make sure that I spray the kids (that goes for me as well) with OFF Skintastic Insect Repellant before I send them off out there in the battlefield of these blood-sucking creatures.