Dealing with West Nile worries in the Mid-South - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Darrell Phillips

Dealing with West Nile worries in the Mid-South

They've been spraying for three weeks straight now and for your protection. But they've only been doing it in the middle of the night. While the bugs continue to bite the "war" on those bugs may take its toll too. From three a-m to seven a-m, the spray trucks cruise the county, pumping the poisons that kill the mosquitoes. Today alone - six zip codes have been coated in chemical mist. The people who spray say they're trying to steer clear of people and children. Louis Lacey, Vector Control said, "I would keep my child in. If you know that we're gonna be in your area... I mean, let's utilize a little common sense here."

Shelby County pumps a million and a half dollars into vector control. Trucks spray this E-P-A approved chemical mist up and down neighborhood streets. The people who do it say it can only hurt you in huge doses or if you're exposed for long periods of time. But the damage it does to mosquitoes is priceless. "It's not that the product is going to kill you or send you to the hospital, but if I see the vehicle coming down the street, then certainly, I would take shelter for just a few minutes."

Here's what they're spraying: Mosquitomist One has a slight odor. The health department says exposure more than once or for long amounts of time can cause eye and skin irritation, skin flaking or drying. Breathing too much in may cause headaches, dizziness, drowsiness and unconsciousness. The other chemical, BioMist has no smell. The symptoms of over exposure can be the same - most notably blurred vision. If overexposed, you should remove your contaminated clothing, wash the affected areas with soap and water, flush your eyes with water and get fresh air. If it is swallowed - call a doctor immediately.

Vector Control workers say their drivers are trained to stop spraying if they see people on the street. They do everything they can, they say, to be cautious. They also say the chemicals they do spray on your property are only dangerous for three hours so, in theory, by the time you and your children wake up, it should be safe.

If you have questions about the West Nile Virus, here are the numbers to call:

In Shelby County, call the Health Department's West Nile Hotline at 544-7503.

Outside Shelby County, you should call your local County Health Department.

You can also call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's West Nile Hotline.

For information in English call 1-888-246-2675. For information in Spanish call 1-888-246-2857

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