Help Prevent West Nile Virus this Summer

mosquitoSummer is finally here, which for many of us means spending a significant amount of time outdoors. Among the many precautions that are advisable during this time is limiting opportunities for mosquito bites, and thus the illnesses that can come with them.

Temperatures are often most comfortable during the evening hours; however, this is also the time that mosquitoes are out in full force. In fact, the risk for mosquito-borne infections, such as West Nile Virus, is highest between dusk and dawn.

Approximately 20% of people infected with West Nile Virus show symptoms. They can range from mild, such as fever, headache, fatigue and skin rash, to extremely severe in cases of coma, tremors, mood disorders and limb paralysis, which can require hospital stays and extensive rehabilitation.

There are a number of things that can be done to help prevent West Nile Virus as a result of mosquito bites:

  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET to exposed skin, excluding the face (follow label instructions)
  • Eliminate sources of standing water (old tires, flower pots, buckets, pet bowls, etc.)
  • Turn children’s pools and wheelbarrows upside down when not in use
  • Wear long pants and sleeves when outside during high-risk hours
  • Avoid perfumes and other highly scented personal hygiene products
  • Contact the local health department for instructions on handling and disposing of dead birds

Mosquitoes are certainly a nuisance, but following these tips is the first step to enjoying a bite-free summer! Do you have any other recommendations?

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