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You might think you don’t need to worry about West Nile virus prevention at home in America. Perhaps it seems like an exotic threat, something to get shots for if you go away to a tropical location. After all, it’s believed West Nile Virus is borne from stagnant river water in tropical climates. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. West Nile Virus has been detected in humans in every state except Alaska. Record rains and warm weather are the ingredients for a perfect mosquito factory, and many places across the midwest and the south are experiencing both of these in spades this year.
Most people who are infected with West Nile virus won’t show any symptoms and won’t even know they have it, but one in around 150 will be symptomatic. Those symptoms can range from simple flu-like ones like fever, headaches, and rashes, but in rare cases West Nile can affect the nervous system. That last outcome could well be deadly, so how can you stay safe?
Preventing Mosquito Bites is Preventing West Nile Virus
The good news is the only likely way you could be infected is by being bitten by a mosquito that carries the disease. The bad news is that mosquito season is descending on us as we speak, and with proven cases of West Nile virus spotted in several places throughout America already this year, it’s more important than ever to protect yourself. Fortunately there are a number of things you can do to make yourself as unappealing to mosquitoes as possible. Mosquito protection is particularly important if you’re one of those people who has Type O blood or any of the other factors that make certain demographics irresistible to mosquitoes.
Time is of the essence, so without further ado, here are important tips to protect yourself from West Nile virus this summer.
This one is a slam dunk. Mosquito repellent is a vital weapon in the fight against diseases ranging from West Nile to Zika and has been used for decades to great effect. However, not all mosquito repellents are born equal. We made our mosquito repellent Stay Away® Mosquitoes with Picaridin, a synthetic compound similar to the natural chemicals found in pepper, which is CDC approved and guaranteed to work. Picaridin has the edge over harsh chemicals like DEET, according to Dr. Dan Strickman from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Picaridin is “more effective” and keeps “mosquitoes at a greater distance”, according to Strickman, so make sure to choose a repellent that makes use of this natural wonder so mosquitoes refuse to even land on you.
2. Cover Up
This might seem obvious, but it’s immensely effective in this important battle. Mosquitoes use scent to find their prey – as in, you – so so cover up your sweet skin with long sleeves and pants to mask your musk. Plus, if they can’t get to your skin, they certainly can’t bite you and infect you with something like West Nile virus or any of the other nasty diseases they have been known to carry.
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3. Turn On the Fans
This might not be news, but mosquitoes are small. (This is going somewhere helpful, we promise.)
What that means in practical terms for you is that they’re not very strong fliers relatively speaking. Even the breeze from a fan can make it next to impossible for them to come in for a safe landing: plus, it confuses their senses. Even if they could land on you, they can’t see you so long as you’ve got a good breeze going. Find your biggest fans, close the windows, crank the AC, and enjoy safety. Mosquitoes can’t bite you if they can’t find you, let alone land on you, making the household fan your secret weapon in West Nile virus prevention.
4. Stay Indoors at Dawn and Dusk
If you’ve ever gone out for an outdoors barbecue on a beautiful evening in a hazy summer in shorts and a tee, you’ll know the pain of having a great evening ruined by being eaten alive by mosquitoes.
They’re nocturnal and mostly hunt for food at dawn and dusk. Direct sunlight can be deadly for mosquitoes – just like vampires – as sunlight dehydrates them. If you do have to go out at dawn and dusk, make sure to follow the previous tips: cover up and use a repellent spray with Picaridin like Stay Away® Mosquitoes.
5. Clean Out Any Mosquito Nurseries
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in warm, stagnant water, which is why hot wet summers bring them out in droves. In warmer climates after long rains, pots, gutters, and anywhere else water might gather make for the perfect launch pads for these new generations of mosquitoes. The heat and record breaking rains in Illinois so far this year have made it a mosquito mecca. You can’t stop the rain, but you can make sure your home is as unfriendly to young mosquito families as it can be, which means emptying out all the water after each rain. Do a sweep of the area surrounding your home to ensure your property isn’t a welcome wagon for families of mosquitoes.
West Nile virus prevention is vital because there is no vaccine or effective treatment, so be proactive in your battle this summer. It’s important to remember that mosquitoes aren’t just annoying: they’re potentially deadly, so ensure you protect yourself with a repellent like Stay Away Mosquitoes.