Stop the Bite – West Nile Virus

Our water in Inyo County is what makes us unique, but with water come mosquitos. While enjoying your time outside here, you may have fallen victim to the wrath of the mosquitos. It is important to take steps to protect yourself and your family from mosquitos. Protecting yourself is important not only so you are not itchy the next few days – but also because there have been a limited number of human West Nile Virus cases reported in the Owens Valley in prior years.

West Nile Virus can be transmitted to a human via a mosquito bite. Symptoms of West Nile Virus range from no symptoms at all to serious complications. Most people, 8 out of 10, do not show any symptoms. Around 1 in 5 people develop flu like symptoms: headache, fever, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, and diarrhea. Feelings of fatigue and weakness can last several weeks to months. Severe symptoms occur in 1 out of every 150 people who are infected. These severe symptoms impact the central nervous system and may include: high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. Individuals over the age of 60 and/or who have other medical conditions are at higher risk of developing severe systems with West Nile Virus. Seek medical attention if you develop these symptoms.

Protecting yourself and your family from mosquito bites is the easiest way to prevent West Nile Virus:

• Use and follow the label of EPA registered insect repellent. EPA registered insect repellents are proven to be safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
• Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old. Dress them in clothing that covers their arms and leg and use covers over strollers and baby carriers.
• Adults should spray insect repellent onto their hands and rub onto child’s face. Don’t apply repellent to child’s hands, eyes, mouth or irritated skin.
• Wear Long-sleeved shirts and long pants
• Control mosquitos around your home. Use screens on windows and doors. Repair holes in screens to keep mosquitoes outdoors. Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers.

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