One of the unpleasant parts of summertime are those blasted mosquitoes! Not only do they bite you when you least expect it, if they carry the West Nile Virus, you may become very ill. Less than one per cent of those bitten by infected mosquitoes are affected. If you have symptoms that include high fever, stiff neck, or severe headache, contact your health-care provider immediately.
Persons who have contacted the West Nile Virus have suffered debilitating health problems. Just this week, our local news featured a man who was paralyzed from the neck down when he contacted the virus last year. Through hard work and medical treatment, (a year later), he is barely able to pull himself up and stand for 20 seconds! So this is nothing to ignore. So if you are getting “buzzed” by a mosquito, get out the swatter and spray!
Remember the Four D’s for your defense against exposure to mosquitoes:
Dusk/Dawn are the times of day you should try to stay indoors. This is the time infected mosquitoes are the most active.
Dress in long sleeves and pants when you’re outside. For extra protection, you may want to spray thin clothing with repellent.
Deet (N/ N-diethyl-m-toluamide) is an ingredient to look for in your insect repellent. Follow label instructions, and always wear repellent when outdoors.
Drain standing water in your yard and neighborhood – reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths on a regular basis.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes outside. Use your air conditioning, if you have it.
Help Your Community West Nile Virus Surveillance and Control Programs
- Support your local community mosquito control programs. Mosquito control activities are most often handled at the local level, such as through county or city government. The type of mosquito control methods used by a program depends on the time of year, the type of mosquitoes to be controlled, and the habitat structure. Methods can include elimination of mosquito larval habitats, application of insecticides to kill mosquito larvae, or spraying insecticides from trucks or aircraft to kill adult mosquitoes. Your local mosquito control program can provide information about the type of products being used in your area. Check with your local health department for more information. Contact information may be found in the blue (government) pages of the phone book.
Texas Department of Health/CDC