'Fight the Bite' Poster Contest Announced

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) today announced the deadline of April 3 for the 2009 Fight the Bite Poster Contest, which is open to all fifth and sixth graders in the U.S. 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 repellent while outdoors.

Two winners from each state – one fifth grader and one sixth grader – will receive a $50 U.S. Savings Bond and award certificate. The Grand Prize winners – one from each grade – will receive a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond, a plaque and an all-expenses-paid trip to Atlanta with their parents for the awards presentation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters.

“This contest helps children learn about protecting themselves and their families from insect bites while creating their posters,” stated Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, State Health Officer and Director of the KDHE Division of Health. “Public health professionals will be encouraged to use the winning posters to educate people on ways to reduce their risk of mosquito and tick-borne diseases.”

People can reduce their risk of mosquito and tick-borne diseases by taking the following precautions:

· Use insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin on skin. Follow label directions.

· 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.

· 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.

· 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, visit www.fightthebitecontest.org. The DEET Education Program (www.deetonline.org), which operates under the auspices of the Consumer Specialty Products Association, is sponsored by Clariant Corp., McLaughlin Gormley King Co., S.C. Johnson & Son Inc., 3M Company and Vertellus Health and Specialties Inc.

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