Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

June 4, 2014

Free tire disposal: Public participation encouraged

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

—. — While summer may be a time for picnics, trips to the local swimming pool and other fun outdoor activities, the warmer months and longer nights are also a time to safeguard against mosquito bites.

Of particular concern are those mosquitoes carrying La Cross encephalitis, a virus that is spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes. Symptoms can include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and confusion. In severe cases, people may have seizures or go into a coma, according to the Mercer County Health Department. And while La Crosse encephalitis is rarely fatal, children can continue to have headaches, seizures, and other problems after they get well.

Health officials say children under the age of 15 are the most at risk, but the disease can occur at any age. As a result, area residents should take steps this summer to pick-up old tires, cans, bottles, tire swings, rain barrels and other items that can hold water and serve as a potential breeding area for mosquitoes.

That’s why we are glad to hear that a free tire disposal program will be held throughout the month of June in cooperation with the Mercer County Health Department. Disposing of old tires is important because water often collects in them.

The free tire disposal program is sponsored by West Virginia REAP, the Mercer County Health Department, the Lashmeet Ruritan, the town of Oakvale, the city of Princeton, and the city of Bluefield. A similar program also is planned Saturday at the Wal-Mart in Kimball in McDowell County. Each person in a vehicle can bring only 10 tires. Tires cannot be on rims, and this will be the only tire pick-up at each site this year.

Tire disposal will be at the following locations . Each location will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. during its days of operation:

• Bluefield Parks and Recreation from June 2 until June 6.

• City of Princeton Maintenance Garage from June 9 until June 13

• Oakvale Town Hall from June 19 until June 21.

• L & M Market in Lashmeet from June 23 until June 27.

• Wal-Mart in Kimball in McDowell County on June 7 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

We would urge area residents to take advantage of these free tire disposal dates and locations. And families should take additional steps to avoid mosquito bites, which are most common at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. The most common safeguard is the use of insect repellent on bare skin. DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR 3535 is effective, according to health officials. But the oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children less than 3 years of age.

By taking these and other steps, we can help to safeguard our families and children from mosquito bites and the threat of La Cross encephalitis this summer.

And please don’t forget to dispose of those old tires and other items collecting water that could become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.