West Nile Virus
When dealing with West Nile virus, prevention is your best bet. Fighting mosquito bites reduces your risk of getting this disease, along with others that mosquitoes can carry. Take the commonsense steps below to reduce your risk:
- avoid bites and illness
- clean out the mosquitoes from the places where you work and play
- help your community control the disease
Something to remember: The chance that any one person is going to become ill from a single mosquito bite remains low. The risk of severe illness and death is highest for people over 50 years old, although people of all ages can become ill.
Avoid Mosquito Bites
Use Insect Repellent
Use repellent on exposed skin when you go outdoors. Use an EPA-registered insect repellent such as those with DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Even a short time being outdoors can be long enough to get a mosquito bite.
Get double protection: wear long sleeves during peak mosquito biting hours, and spray repellent directly onto your clothes.
Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites
When weather permits, wear long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with repellent containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent will give extra protection. Don’t apply repellents containing permethrin directly to skin. Do not spray repellent on the skin under your clothing.
Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours
The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many species of mosquitoes. Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing during evening and early morning — or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
Drain Standing Water
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water.Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by getting rid of items that hold water.
Install or Repair Screens
Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having well-fitting screens on both windows and doors. Offer to help neighbors whose screens might be in bad shape.
Help Your Community
Mosquito Control Programs
The Summit Mosquito Abatement District works closely with the Health Department in the education and prevention of West Nile virus. They will respond to calls of standing water and mosquito problems. They can be reached at 435-336-2088.
Mosquito breeding sites can be anywhere. Neighborhood clean up days can be organized by civic or youth organizations to pick up containers from vacant lots and parks, and to encourage people to keep their yards free of standing water. Mosquitoes don’t care about fences, so it’s important to control breeding sites throughout the neighborhood.
Derek Moss – Nursing Director, Summit County Health Department
650 Round Valley Drive, Park City, UT 84060