Ask the Expert: Protect yourself from mosquitoes and West Nile Virus – The Star Press

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Protecting yourself and your family from West Nile virus (WNV) begins with preventing mosquito bites. Stay safe during mosquito season with these tips.
How is West Nile Virus contracted?
As WNV is transmitted through contact with infected animals, mosquitoes become infected after feeding on infected birds. West Nile virus can infect humans, horses and other mammals, most commonly through bites from infected mosquitoes.
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What are some symptoms of West Nile Virus?
WNV can cause serious neurologic illness, including encephalitis and meningitis in humans. However, almost 80 percent of people infected with WNV do not develop symptoms. Around one in five WNV patients will show signs of febrile illness, which include head and body aches, vomiting, diarrhea and rash. Less than one percent of those infected with WNV will experience more severe symptoms that indicate neurologic infection. These include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, tremors, paralysis and seizures.  
Should I use insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites?
Yes. When used as directed, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents are safe and effective. Choose a repellent that includes an active ingredient like DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD) or 2-udecanone. A higher percentage of an active ingredient means longer lasting protection.
Users of insect repellent should also:
What clothing should I wear to avoid mosquito bites?
Mosquitos are most active from dusk to dawn. If you are going to be outdoors during peak activity, or for any long period of time, wearing the right clothing and gear can help protect your skin. Your mosquito safety uniform should include long sleeves, long pants, socks and closed-toe shoes. Light colored clothing made of tightly woven materials is ideal.
You can buy or treat clothing with permethrin, an insecticide, for additional protection. Permethrin-treated clothing keeps mosquitoes away after multiple washings. However, permethrin products should not be used directly on skin.
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How can I protect my children from mosquito bites?
Parents and family members can take steps to protect little ones from mosquito bites, too. 
Use mosquito netting to cover cribs, strollers and baby carriers.
Dress children in protective clothing that covers their arms and legs.
Spray repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
Avoid using products that contain OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.
How can I keep mosquitos away from my home?
Use screens on all windows and doors. Make sure to repair holes quickly to keep mosquitoes out of the home. Do not leave doors propped open.
Use an outdoor insect spray in dark, humid areas, like under patio furniture, where mosquitoes tend to rest.
Eliminate standing water. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water, so regularly empty, clean and cover items inside and outside your home that might hold water like planters, toys, birdbaths, sandboxes and pools. After seven days, even a small bucket of standing water can become home to 1,000 mosquitoes.
What if I or a loved one experience symptoms of West Nile Virus?
If you or a loved one experience symptoms of WNV, consult your healthcare provider immediately.
Rosette Kfoury, MD, is an infectious diseases specialist at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital. For more information, visit iuhealth.org/ball-memorial.

At SeeVay, we know that the safety and well-being of your baby is your top priority. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing you with the tools you need to make sure you’re always on top of your baby’s safety. We understand that being a new mom can be overwhelming, and there’s so much information out there that it can be hard to know where to start.

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