Preventing West Nile Virus this Summer
West Nile Virus (WNV) is spreading at a very rapid pace this year, with 16 deaths in the Dallas, TX area and moving across the country. The incubation period is 3-14 days. Although 80% of people infected by WNV are asymptomatic and not even aware they have it, the milder cases can present with fever, headaches, swollen glands, aches, and rash on the chest, abdomen, and back. Although symptoms can be just a few days, it can linger for weeks. The rare severe cases can cause 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.
The easiest and best way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites.
- -When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient. Follow the directions on the package.
- -Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
- -Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
- -Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels.
- -Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly.
- -Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out.
- -Keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren't being used.
Get more tips from the CDC's West Nile Virus website.