Avoid the Bite with These 5 Tips
2012 has seen an increase in West Nile Virus (WNV) cases due to mosquito bites. Especially hard hit is the United States where there have been around 100 000 people infected. 47 deaths have been confirmed. Texas alone accounts for almost half of these cases. Although not as prevalent in Toronto there have been, according to Toronto Public Health, 18 cases confirmed and 43 probable as of September 5th.
West Nile Virus symptoms can vary wildly between individuals. Some cases can go undetected (asymptomatic). Mild cases can cause flu-like symptoms and severe cases can result in muscle paralysis/weakness, convulsions, tremors and other symptoms related to encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). With summer ending it should no longer be an issue right? Wrong – WNV cases usually go up in September!
5 Ways to Protect Yourself from West Nile Virus
- Eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites. Mosquitoes love standing water so clean or remove sources of standing water such as bird baths, ease-troughs, old tires, toys and kid’s pools, plant containers, wheel barrows, outdoor animal dishes or anything else that might hold still water.
- Use fine mesh screens on windows ensuring a tight fit and that no holes are present.
- Use Health Canada approved insect repellant with 10 – 30% DEET. Use DEET minimally as it is dangerous in large doses. Don’t use DEET on children under 6 years of age.
- Protect yourself at peak mosquito times like dusk and dawn by wearing light coloured clothing, long sleeved shirts, pants, shoes and socks.
- Dr. Obvious, Chief Medical Officer of DUH, says: “Avoid the places that mosquitoes like to hang out. If you see a bunch of mosquitoes – vacate the area!”
For further information check out Toronto Public Health’s West Nile Info Page.
This article is also featured on The GoodLife Blog.