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How to Protect Yourself Against West Nile Virus

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West Nile Virus is tricky, as most cases are asymptomatic. Around 10 percent develop into West Nile, which can be as benign as a very mild flu, or in some rare cases lead to serious illness or even death. But there are simple things you can do in Louisiana to minimize your chances of being infected.

Mosquitoes can transmit the disease after they bite an infected bird. Although most mosquito bites are benign, it’s important to take the threat seriously and avoid mosquitoes.

Keep in mind that only a small percentage of mosquitoes are infected with West Nile virus, but the best defense is a good offense. Here are a few ways to protect yourself and your family.

Next: First 2014 Cases of West Nile Virus Reported in Louisiana


Screen Doors, Windows



Make certain that screens around sliding glass door windows are in good shape, and have any holes or gaps repaired. For French doors, try a mosquito curtain.




Mosquito Repellant



Make sure it includes oil of lemon eucalyptus or chemicals such as picaridin, permethrin or DEET.

Be warned: DEET is toxic substance, so it should be applied sparingly to the skin. Don’t apply a repellent that is more than 30 percent DEET on children and never put it on their hands.



Wearing proper clothes when outside



When outside in heavy mosquito areas, wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks. Mosquitoes can bite through thin fabrics, so spray clothing with insect repellent.



Stay away from standing water



Water attracts mosquitoes, so keep backyard patios and decks clutter-free. After a summer rain, mosquitoes tend to congregate around flower pots and bird baths. Make sure they are water-free.



Check the time of day



The worst times for mosquito bites are early morning and early evening. Keep in mind that mosquitoes can still attack in the middle of the day. It’s less likely, but always be cautious.


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