Protection from West Nile VirusYou may have heard reports of West Nile Virus, a possibly fatal virus carried by mosquitoes, popping up all across the United States. West Nile Virus can lead to serious complications like encephalitis - swelling of the brain. If you're anything like me, you're going to spend as much time as possible outdoors during these waning days of summer. But right now's the riskiest part of the season - West Nile cases peak in late August/early fall. What precautions should we be taking? To find out, I spoke with Candice Hoffmann, a spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Related: How to Get Rid of Insects and Pests
- First and foremost, use bug repellent whenever you're outside and select one that features one of CDC's recommended ingredients, such as DEET, picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, or IR3535. Make sure to apply it to all exposed areas of skin and reapply it as the product instructions direct. Try Avon's Skin So Soft Aerosol Spray plus Picaridin , which has earned the Good Housekeeping Seal.
- Wear long sleeves and pants when hiking, gardening, and even lounging in your backyard.
- Avoid being outside for prolonged periods of time during dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
- While most repellents should be safe for children, always check the product's label to be sure. An adult should put the product on his or her own hands and then apply it to a child's skin. Please note that Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus shouldn't be used on children under the age of three.
- Dump any standing water that's around your property. Birdbaths, kiddie pools, and the like are the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
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