With the long days of summer many Utahns are enjoying outdoor activities such as camping, boating, gardening or picnics. However, the risk of getting West Nile virus increases along with summer temperatures and the number of mosquitoes. This summer, remember to put mosquito repellent containing DEET into your vehicle, backpack or purse.
David Cunningham, Health Director for Southeastern Utah District Health Department said, "We want people to enjoy the outdoors, but remember to take the necessary precautions to reduce your risk of being bitten. The large amount of water this spring didn't just bring flooding; it increased areas of standing water where mosquitoes can thrive." Local retailers have mosquito repellent with DEET available for purchase in anticipation of the mosquito season. There are convenient towelettes that are easy to carry and use, and many manufacturers have developed mosquito repellent that is odorless and non-sticky. The Centers for Disease Control has also approved repellent containing picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus for effective protection against WNV. The symptoms of WNV range from mild to severe and typically develop between 3 and 14 days after a person is bitten. It can cause severe headaches, eye pain, muscle pain and fever. Individuals have reported severe fatigue that can last several months.
"The best way to stop the spread of West Nile is through prevention. Wear mosquito repellent, especially around dawn and dusk, which are peak mosquito biting times," said Cunningham. For more information contact your local health department, visit www.seuhealth.com or www.cdc.gov