THE North Coast Public Health Unit has issued a reminder to protect against being bitten by mosquitoes expected to increase in numbers across the region.
Director Paul Corben said rainfall and higher tides around Christmas mean mosquito numbers are likely to increase.
"Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses are common on the NSW North Coast and are transmitted by infected mosquitoes that breed in flooded, grassy and swampy areas and around waterways," he said.
"We are heading towards a time when we see the highest numbers of people infected with Ross River or Barmah Forest virus.
"Protecting yourself from mosquitoes at this time of year is particularly important."
Compared to the NSW average people living on the North Coast are five to eight times more likely to be infected with Barmah Forest virus and three to five times more likely with Ross River virus.
On average in each year over the past decade about 430 people have been diagnosed with either virus while living in the region.
To avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, when outside cover up as much as possible with light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and covered footwear.
Use an effective repellent on all exposed skin and reapply within a few hours as protection wears off with perspiration.
Light mosquito coils or use vaporising mats indoors as devices that use light to attract and electrocute insects are not effective.
Cover all windows, doors, vents and other entrances with insect screens.
When camping, use fly screens on caravans and tents or sleep under mosquito nets.