Thursday, August 16, 2012

West Nile Woes: Protect Yourself

Written by Kyla Campbell, staff contributor

It's true. In Texas, everything is bigger. And this year the number of West Nile Virus cases capturing headlines as our state leads the nation, is our latest 'bigger' news. 

With all the talk about West Nile Virus in the area, we thought we'd help spread the message on how you can protect yourself from a possible infection from the folks who know best, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC website is full of information, statistics, steps to help choose repellents, steps to take if you think you may have WNV and so much more. Here are the cliff notes in case you don't have time to check out the full site. 

The 4 D's can help protect you and the rest of your summer from these pesky insects and their WNV!
Apply insect repellent that contains DEET. You can also use repellents with Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

Long sleeves and pants are best if you are going to be outside.

Any standing water can be a breeding ground for mosquitos so drain it! This includes flower pots, small swimming pools or wading pools and bird baths.

Mosquitos are most active during this time so grab a board game, watch a movie, enjoy a book. Whatever you choose to do, do it indoors!

You can also be prepared by recognizing the flu-like symptoms of an infection. These include:
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Skin rash
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • While these are typical symptoms of infection, most infected people show NO signs of illness.

So you are wondering, who is most at risk?
If you are older than 50 or have a weakened immune system, then you are a higher risk.

How likely are you to get West Nile Virus?
Good news is that fewer than 1% of those bitten become severely ill, 25% infected have mild symptoms and 80% of those infected will show no symptoms at all.

If you have more concerns or want more information, please visit

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