Reduce Risk of Contracting West Nile Virus

Basic prevention tips can help people from contracting the disease both on adults and children. Known to bring fatal viral infections like encephalitis, a disease that causes the inflamed brain to push toward the skull,  and meningitis, the inflammation of the meninges, the West Nile Virus is as insidious as it can be. Yet knowing what to do to prevent from getting infected is one of the best ways from staying free from it.

Using DEET

For adults

Products with 10% to 35% DEET can provide enough protection one needs under certain conditions. It is a rule that the label direction of the product with DEET be read.

Apply only a limited quantity directly on the skin. Remember not to apply it on skin under clothing. Likewise, avoid applying it to damaged skin. This goes specially for those with conditions like psoriasis, sunburns or cuts.

For children

Children less than two years old, never apply repellents. Additional clothing or netting is best for infants. If applying DEET, products with DEET should be 10% or lower.

Do not apply directly to children. It is advised that the parent should apply first to his or her hand and rub it on the child’s skin. It is safe that children don’t apply the product by themselves. Keep the product away from reach children’s reach.

It is best to wash affected first and call a Poison Center (1-800-222-1222) or your local health care giver if you or your child is having reactions from products with DEET.

Other methods of prevention

As getting infected by the virus is unavoidable, it is best that a series of measures be done to alleviate or totally prevent any possibility of contracting it. Further, since DEET can only provide a limited amount of protection, it is best that you or your child be safe from it.

  • Wear long pants or shirts with long sleeves.
  • If possible, avoid the time of the day when mosquitoes are usually active like dawn and dusk.
  • Infants in playpens or carriages should be protected by nettings.
  • Keep door and window screens in perfect condition.
  • Bury dead birds or other animals immediately if you see one.
  • Get rid of materials that can be a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes such as tires or cans as these items can collect standing water.
  • If possible, drain the water from basins or any material that can gather water.

For more information on mosquito control, contact the National Pesticide Control Center: 1-800-858-7378.