Summer's abuzz with diseases
You can here the familiar sound of mozzie swatting starting up again, after a heavenly dry spell that has kept the pests at bay.
Besides the obvious inconveniences of a mosquito plague; no more sunset barbecues, head to toe dressing while taking out the garbage, North Coast Area Health Service has issued a public health alert for residents and visitors to guard against becoming infected with the mosquito-borne Barmah Forest and Ross River viruses.
The health service says this is the time of year when it usually sees an increase in cases of the viruses and with recent heavy rainfalls, high humidity and high tides, more breeding sites for mosquitoes will emerge.
People are being urged to protect themselves using personal repellents that contain DEET or picaridin, wearing light-coloured loose clothing to cover arms and legs and installing and maintaining flyscreens on windows and doors.
The NCAHS director of public health, Paul Corben said the best way of protecting yourself and your family from mosquito borne viruses was to avoid being bitten and to reduce breeding sites around your home.
Mosquitoes will breed in any receptacle that can hold water.
Emptying old tyres, unused fish ponds and anywhere else where stagnant water is present such as bromeliad plants will remove potential breeding grounds for the little buzzers.