The best way to reduce the risk of West Nile virus infection is to try to prevent mosquito bites. If West Nile virus activity is detected in your area:
- Limit time spent outdoors at dawn and dusk, when many mosquitoes are most active
- Wear light-colored protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and a hat when outdoors in areas where mosquitoes are present
- A long sleeve shirt with snug collar and cuffs is best. The shirt should be tucked in at the waist. Socks should be tucked over pants, hiking shoes, or boots
- Light colored clothing is best because mosquitoes tend to be more attracted to dark colors
- When going outdoors use insect repellents that contain DEET or other approved ingredients
- Make sure that door and window screens fit tightly and have no holes that may allow mosquitoes indoors
- To avoid insect bites, do not use scented soaps, perfumes or hair sprays on your children
- For young babies, mosquito netting is very effective in areas where exposure to mosquitoes is likely. Netting may be used over infant carriers or other areas where small children are placed.
Reducing the mosquito population around your home:
Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water which grow into adults that are ready to fly. Even a small amount of water, for example, in a saucer under a flower pot, is enough to act as a breeding ground. Here are some tips on how to eliminate standing water:
- Regularly drain standing water from items like pool covers, saucers under flower pots, pet bowels, pails, recycle bins, garbage cans etc.
- Drill holes in the bottom of recycling bins
- Change(or empty) the water in wading pools, bird baths, pet bowls and livestock watering tanks twice a week
- Turn over plastic wading pools and wheel barrels when not in use
- Clean and chlorinate your swimming pools. A pool left unattended for a month can produce a large number of mosquitoes
- Landscape your garden as necessary to eliminate stagnant waters(mosquitoes can breed even in puddles of water that last for more than 4 days
- Get rid of unused items including old tires, that have a tendency to collect water
- Cover rain barrels with screens
- Clean eaves troughs(roof gutters)regularly to prevent clogs that can trap water
- If you have an ornamental pond, consider getting fish that will eat mosquito larvae
CLICK HERE to read about how to reduce mosquito bite discomfort.
Pediatrician DR.PAUL Roumeliotis is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The information provided above is designed to be an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace the advice and care of your child’s physician, nor is it intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. If you suspect that your child has a medical condition always consult a physician.