10 ways to reduce the risk of becoming infected with the West Nile Virus

By: Guardian Staff

The West Nile Virus infection continues to climb. This year appears to be shaping up as a record year, as reported by the Center for Disease Control, on September 11, 2012, there have been a total of 2,626 cases reported in 46 States in the United States, with 118 deaths. 1,405 of the cases were described as Neuroinvasive Disease Cases, and 1,231 cases of Non-Neuroinvasive Disease type.

Here are 10 tips on how to reduce the risk of becoming infected with the West Nile Virus

1. Apply insect repellent to exposed skin. Generally, the more active ingredient a repellent contains the longer it can protect you from mosquito bites. A higher percentage of active ingredients in a repellent don’t mean that your protection is better—just that it will last longer. Choose a repellent that provides protection for the amount of time that you will be outdoors.
2. Spray clothing with repellents containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing. Do not apply repellents containing permethrin directly to exposed skin. Do not apply repellent to skin under your clothing.
3. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors.
4. Place mosquito netting over infant carriers when you are outdoors with infants.
5. Consider staying indoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening, which are peak mosquito biting times.
6. Install or repair window and door screens so that mosquitoes cannot get indoor.
7. At least once or twice a week, empty water from flowerpots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, and cans.
8. Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out.
9. Remove discarded tires, and other items that could collect water.
10. Be sure to check for containers or trash in places that may be hard to see, such as under bushes or under your home.

And don’t forget Vitamin B and “ultrasonic” devices are NOT effective in preventing mosquito bites.

Prevention and controlling the West Nile virus and other arboviral diseases is most effectively accomplished through integrated vector management programs. These programs should include surveillance for West Nile virus activity in mosquito vectors, birds, horses, other animals, and humans, and implementation of appropriate mosquito control measures to reduce mosquito populations when necessary. Additionally, when virus activity is detected in an area, residents should be alerted and advised to increase measures to reduce contact with mosquitoes.

Symptoms of West Nile Virus

Event though 80 % of people who are infected with West Nile Virus will not show any symptoms. People who have become infected with the West Nile Virus will show symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomit, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or even a skin rash on the chest, stomach, and back.
One in 150 people infected with the West Nile Virus will develop severe illness. The symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness, and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.
If you have any of these symptoms, and have been exposed to high numbers of mosquitoes, take the safe measures and see your family physician immediately.

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