Protect yourself from West Nile virus
April 26, 2012
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend mosquito repellents for protection from mosquito bites. DEET, Picaridin, and oil of lemon eucalyptus help reduce bites from mosquitoes that are annoying and may carry the West Nile virus. Although it is normally a bird disease, West Nile virus can cause fever, serious illness and even death in people. Using a repellent allows you to enjoy outdoor activities, such as the Twilight Tattoo, with a reduced risk of mosquito bites.
CDC recommends applying a repellent when you are going to be outdoors. Even if you don't notice mosquitoes, there is a good chance that they will find you. Many of the mosquitoes on JBM-HH may carry West Nile virus and bite between dusk and dawn. If you are outdoors around these times of the day, it is especially important to apply insect repellent.
You should reapply the repellent if you are being bitten by mosquitoes. Sweating, perspiration or getting wet may mean that you need to reapply repellent more frequently. Always follow the directions on the product you are using.
Of the ingredients registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, CDC believes that DEET or Picaradin typically provide longer-lasting protection than others. Oil of lemon eucalyptus, a plant-based repellent, is also registered with EPA. Oil of lemon eucalyptus provides protection similar to repellents with low concentrations of DEET.
Remember to follow the direction on the label. Use enough DEET, Picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to cover exposed skin. Don't apply repellent to skin that is under clothing. Heavy application is not necessary to achieve protection. Do not apply repellent to cuts, wounds or irritated skin. After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water. Do not spray aerosol or pump sprays directly to your face. Spray your hands and then rub them carefully over your face, avoiding eyes and mouth. And enjoy the outdoors with a reduced risk of mosquito bites by using a repellent.
Symptoms of West Nile virus include: fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks. For more information about WNV, log onto www.cdc.gov and search for West Nile virus.