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Mosquito season is here

Mosquitoes are becoming an increasing threat in disease transmission here in Southern California. West Nile virus has been marching westward from the East Coast for a couple of decades but it took a slight dip last year. That’s small consolation inasmuch as Zika virus is now on the horizon. Almost all the cases of Zika virus infection in the U.S. have occurred in persons who acquired the disease elsewhere but it’s probably a matter of time before it gains a foothold here.

Mosquitoes are remarkably adaptive creatures. They don’t need much water to raise their families. Small accumulations of standing water in discarded containers, flowerpots or even the cup-like leaves of decorative plants can support broods of the two species of mosquito that live in this area. You might want to check your yard about once a week to make sure that there are no mosquito havens there.

Don’t become a target for mosquitoes. Some species bite mainly at dawn and dusk but some, like Aedes aegypti that often carries the Zika virus, are all-day biters. We use perfume, cologne, hair spray and other fragrances to attract others but mosquitoes are drawn to them too. An insect repellent known as DEET has remained effective since it was first used the the Pacific theatre of WWII. You might want to have a spray can on hand if these critters show up in your neighborhood.


Don’t be a slave to a calorie-counter! Unless you weigh and measure every portion of food that you eat it isn’t possible to get within 10 or 20 calories of that food’s actual value. What is important is to stick to foods that are naturally low in calories and to get in the habit of making your mealtime servings about 20 percent smaller than they were before you started trying to lose weight.

Two perspectives to keep in mind: First, if you take in 10 calories a day more than you burn off with physical activity you will gain about one pound  year. Ten calories!!! That’s about one bite of a banana and about one-fifth of an Oreo cookie! One pound might not seem like much but it sure adds up between the time you finish high school and the time you say hello to your first grandchild.

Second, by trimming your usual mealtime helpings by about 20 percent you’ll lower your daily intake by about 500 calories. At that rate you will lose more than one pound every week. One of the secrets to doing that is to eat high-fiber foods like fruits and vegetables that give you a feeling of fullness instead of things like French fries and rice, which have almost no fiber and that leave you wanting to eat more.

If you’re on the carb-reducing program (I hate to use the word diet) you can have larger servings of meat because protein leaves you with a feeling of fullness.




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