TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is now accepting applications for the 2012 “Fight the Bite” Poster Contest, which is open to all fifth and sixth graders in the United States. The deadline to submit entries is April 18.
The contest encourages students to use art to show the ways they can protect themselves and their families from the diseases spread by mosquitoes, ticks and fleas by using avoidance behavior, proper clothing or repellent while outdoors. Winning posters may be used in educational materials nationwide to help motivate others to “Fight the Bite.”
Two winning posters will be chosen in each state (one from each grade) and each winning state artist will receive $50 and a certificate. Two national winners (one from each grade) will each win $1,000 and a plaque. The 2011 Kansas fifth grade winner was Laura Taylor from Meriden and the sixth grade winner was Emily Conyac from Stockton. In 2009, Kansas was home to the sixth grade Grand Prize winner.
“We look forward to seeing the fine work from our fifth and sixth graders this year. This contest is an opportunity for children to learn more about the risks associated with mosquitoes, ticks and fleas and about ways to protect themselves from these insects,” stated Robert Moser, M.D., KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer.
People can reduce the risk of mosquito- and tick-borne diseases by taking the following precautions:
* Use insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin on skin. Follow label directions.
* Empty standing water from tarps, old tires, buckets and other places where rainwater is trapped. Use larvicide in low-lying areas where water cannot be removed. Refresh water for bird baths, pet bowls and wading pools at least every three days.
* Limit outdoor activities at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
* Wear protective clothing when practical (long sleeves and pants). Clothing should be light-colored to make ticks more visible. When hiking, wear a long-sleeved shirt tucked into pants, long pants tucked into high socks, and over-the-ankle shoes to keep ticks out.
* Regularly mow lawns and cut brush. Ticks like to hide in overgrown, shady areas.
* When hiking, walk in the middle of trails, away from tall grass and bushes.
* Check yourself every eight hours for ticks when outside for extended periods of time. Promptly remove a tick if one is found. If you find a tick, grasp the tick with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and slowly pull it straight out. Do not crush or puncture the tick and try to avoid touching the tick with your bare hands. Thoroughly disinfect the bite area and wash your hands immediately after removal.
The contest is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the DEET Education Program. For contest rules and past winning entries, visit www.fightthebitecontest.org.