How can I prevent West Nile virus?
There are a number of precautions that people can take to protect their home and family from mosquitoes and minimize the potential of contracting West Nile virus. The NPMA recommends the following tips:
- Eliminate or reduce mosquito-breeding sites around the home by replacing all standing water at least once a week. This includes birdbaths, flowerpots, grill covers, baby pools and other objects where water collects. Mosquitoes on need about ½ inch of water to breed.
- Screen windows, doors, and other openings with mesh. Repair even the smallest tear or hole.
- Use mesh that is 18X18 strands per inch, or finer.
- Seal around all screen edges; and keep doors and windows shut to prevent entry of most mosquito species.
- Minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
- When outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts and long-legged pants.
- Use an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon-eucalyptus on exposed skin whenever outdoors. Check product labels for information on age restrictions to make sure they are safe for your toddler or infant.
If you are concerned about mosquito activity on your property, consider contacting a pest management company. They can help reduce exposure to mosquitoes and decrease the risks for mosquito-borne illnesses by inspecting properties for mosquito breeding sites and treating to control mosquitoes. In addition, they can suggest corrective actions, and provide basic information, current news and references to other sources.
You can also contact your municipality or township to see if your community has a mosquito management program in place. Only a concerted community-wide effort can properly manage these pests and reduce the risks associated with them.