West Nile Virus is a potentially serious illness that is spread when mosquitoes that have fed on infected birds bite humans. Eighty percent of the humans infected with the virus show no symptoms at all. However, according to the Center for Disease Control the remaining twenty percent have experienced the following symptoms: fever, head and body aches, swollen lymph glands, and rashes on the chest, stomach, and back. These symptoms have been known to last from just a few days to several weeks. Also, in as few cases as one out of every one hundred and fifty, people have experienced severe reactions to this virus. Their symptoms have included high fevers, headaches, neck stiffness, stupor, coma, tremors, disorientation, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness, and paralysis. These symptoms have been reported to last several weeks and some of the neurological effects appear to be permanent.
This virus can be life altering if you happen to be the one out of one hundred fifty who experience the most severe reactions therefore, it is imperative that you take these four easy steps to avoid getting bitten by an infected mosquito.
- When you know you are going outside always use an insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient. While repellents containing DEET are the most common, the CDC also has recommended products containing Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or PMD, and a chemical known as IR3535. Remember, regardless of which substance you use, always read and follow the directions. They are there for your safety.
- Avoid the outdoors from the periods between sunset to sunrise. This is the most active time for a majority of mosquitoes. If you must go outside during these periods wear long sleeve pants, shirts, and socks. Your goal should be to cover up as much of your skin as possible. Apply the above mentioned repellents to your clothes and limit your exposure outside as much as possible.
- Check the screens of all the windows and doors of your house. Repair or replace them as necessary. These are your best defense against unwanted house guests.
- Mosquitoes lay there eggs in water so make sure your property is not mosquito friendly. You can do this by removing any standing pools of water on your property. Do a through search and correct any potential problem source.
Following this quick steps will help you avoid the potential exposure to this serious illness. Paying attention to the details and using the right products just might save you life.
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