Thursday, August 16, 2012

West Nile is Real - Protect Yourselves

While you are much more likely to die from a car accident or the flu, West Nile Virus is very real and a threat in Texas.  This year, for some reason, it is much more of a threat.  More people have contracted the disease from mosquitoes than in previous years, and unfortunately more people have died.

The simple fact of the matter is that West Nile is out there and mosquitoes carry it and can transmit it to human populations.  I taut using insect repellent and reducing mosquito breeding sites every year, all year.  But the unfortunate events have turned peoples' ears and made mosquito prevention a higher priority.

West Nile Virus has no cure - you can only treat the symptoms and hope it goes away in due time.  Therefore, prevention is the key.  Prevention involves avoiding mosquito bites.

This can be done with the 4 D's:
1 - Drain standing water - water is where mosquitoes lay their eggs and the larvae and pupae live.  If there is not standing water, they cannot lay their eggs and the populations are reduced. Mosquitoes prefer still, dirty, shaded water.  Fast running streams and fountains and properly cared for pools are not going to breed mosquitoes.
2 - Dusk and Dawn - stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active, dusk and dawn.  Now, mosquitoes can be active during the day, but you are much more likely to encounter them during dusk and dawn around areas with dense foliage and shade. AND the mosquito species that transmit West Nile are active mainly at dawn and dusk.
3 - Dress in Long Sleeves and Pants - If your clothes are loose and your skin isn't exposed, the mosquitoes can't get to you!
4 - DEET - please, please, please use insect repellent of some sort.  Now, I say DEET because it goes with my four D's nicely, but there are other options.  Picaridin and DEET are longer lasting and known to be very effective.  There are many other natural or botanical options, and some are effective, but because they are natural you do need to reapply regularly as they dissipate quickly being natural ingredients.

Take care of yourself the remainder of this summer and stay away from mosquitoes.  Lets all hope the West Nile issue goes away quickly and the worst is behind us!

For more information on West Nile, visit the CDC website.

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