Protect Yourself From Mosquito Bites - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Protect Yourself From Mosquito Bites

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Summer's here, and it is more important than ever to protect yourself from pesky mosquito bites. Not only are bites uncomfortable, but the mosquito that bites you may also give you West Nile virus.

What is West Nile virus?

West Nile virus is mainly transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people infected with the virus have no symptoms or they have flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, body aches and fatigue. Sometimes though, the virus can cause severe illness, including meningitis and encephalitis.

The chances of getting West Nile virus from an infected mosquito are low. While anyone can become infected with West Nile virus, the risk of severe illness increases with age. Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites!

How can you protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites and West Nile virus?

  • Choose an insect repellent that contains DEET or other approved ingredients.
  • Wear light-coloured clothing, a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and a hat to go outside when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Get rid of as much standing water as you can from around your home and property. Drain water from flower pots, wading pools, old tires and so on. Change water in birdbaths and pet bowls twice a week.
  • Make sure your screens are in good repair.

Why should you use insect repellent?

Using insect repellent helps stop mosquito bites that may give you West Nile virus, so you and your family can continue to work and play outdoors with greater peace of mind.

Is DEET safe?

Yes. Insect repellents containing DEET are safe when used as directed. DEET has been safely used in North America for more than 40 years. Use only insect repellents that have a P.C.P. Act number on either the front or back of the bottle. This number means the product has been approved in Canada.

  • Always read and follow the directions on the insect repellent container, especially when using on young children.
  • Only a thin layer of repellent is needed. Apply to skin surfaces that are not covered by clothing. Repellents can also be applied to your clothing.
  • If you plan to be outdoors for a short period of time, choose a repellent with a lower concentration of DEET and reapply as needed.
  • Wash treated skin with soap and water when you return indoors or when you no longer need protection.
  • Do not put repellent on children's faces and hands. This will reduce their chances of getting it in their eyes and mouths.
  • You can use both sunscreen and insect repellent when you are outdoors. Apply the sunscreen first, followed by the insect repellent.

Is there a specific time of day when you should use insect repellent?

Mosquitoes can bite anytime-day or night. Contact your local public health authority to find out when you are most at risk.

Directions for application:

  • Do not use DEET on infants less than 6 months.
  • For children 6 months to 2 years, use only if there is a high risk for mosquito bites, and then use only once a day (use product containing 10% DEET or less).
  • For children 2-12 years, use no more than 3 times a day (10% DEET or less). Avoid using over a long period.
  • For adults and children over 12 years, Health Canada recommends insect repellents containing 5-30% DEET.
  • Do not use repellent on open wounds or on skin that is sore or sunburned.
  • Do not put on repellent unless you are going outdoors.
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