West Nile Virus is the most common mosquito-borne virus in the continental United States. Each year, more than 35,000 cases are reported of West Nile Virus infections in the United States, with many more cases going undetected. Fortunately, there are easy ways to reduce your risk of West Nile Virus (WNV) infection and protect your health.
1. Use insect repellent
When you’re outside, it’s important to use insect repellent that contains DEET or Picaridin, as it is highly effective in deterring mosquitoes. Reapply your repellent frequently and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying.
2. Wear protective clothing
Wearing long sleeves, pants, and socks whenever you’re outside is a great way to prevent mosquito bites. You can also purchase mosquito-proof clothing that has an insect repellent attached to the fabric.
3. Reduce standing water
Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water, so it’s important to keep your environment free of any standing water. Make sure to empty outdoor containers, dispose of any containers that are not in use, and keep gutters, drains, and ditches clean.
4. Utilize window and door screens
Ensure that all your windows and doors are fitted with tight-fitting screens. This will discourage any insects from getting inside your home.
5. Get rid of mosquito breeding habitats
Stay away from areas with high populations of mosquitoes like marshes, wetlands, and ponds. If you live near one of these areas, make sure to get rid of any standing water like water-filled tires.
6. Use mosquito traps
Mosquito traps are highly effective in catching and killing mosquitoes. These traps use carbon dioxide and other attractants to lure mosquitoes before trapping them inside.
7. Vaccinate your horses
If you own horses, it’s important to have them vaccinated against West Nile Virus. This will greatly reduce the chances of them becoming infected with the virus.
8. Utilize bug zappers
Bug zappers use electric current to attract, trap, and kill insects. Mosquitoes, in particular, are attracted to the bug zapper’s UV light and are killed when they come in contact with the electric current.
9. Check the weather
Before heading outside, be sure to check the weather and temperature. Mosquitoes prefer warm weather and tend to be more active on days that are hot and humid.
Protecting yourself from West Nile Virus doesn’t have to be complicated. By following these nine easy tips, you can reduce your risk of WNV infection and enjoy outdoor activities without fear.