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West Nile Virus - What Is It And How Can You Protect Yourself?

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With the number of cases doubling compared to last year, West Nile is no joke. Understanding how it spreads and how you can prevent yourself and your family from being infected is a great way to ease your fears and keep your family safe! Keep reading to hear what our experts have to say on what West Nile Virus is, and how you can take simple steps to keep your family protected!

What is West Nile Virus?

West Nile is a flavivirus originating in eastern Africa. While it is most commonly found in birds, humans can also become infected. As of right now it is the leading cause of mosquito-borne illness in the United States, with most cases originating in the Summer and Fall when mosquitoes are most prevalent. 

How Do You Get West Nile?

West Nile is most commonly contracted after being bitten by a mosquito that has previously bitten an infected bird. It is not spread via contact with infected humans, nor by handling or eating infected birds.

What Are the Symptoms?

Has recent coverage of West Nile Virus in Arizona got you wondering when you should worry about a mosquito bite? While bites from infected mosquitos don't look any different than bites from non-infected mosquitoes, there are some early warning signs you can be on the look out for if you've been exposed to an area with a lot of mosquitoes and suspect you may have been exposed to West Nile Virus.

Minor symptoms experienced by 20% of those exposed:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Body Aches
  • Skin Rash
  • Swollen Lymph Nodes

That being said, West Nile Virus can be much more dangerous than that. In just 1 out of every 150 cases the Virus leads to serious or fatal illness.

Severe symptoms experienced can include:

  • Paralysis
  • Disorientation
  • Tremors
  • Coma
  • Convulsions
  • Vision Loss

How Can You Protect Yourself?

Given that West Nile Virus is spread via mosquitoes, taking precautions to avoid contact with them and manage bites is key in keeping your family safe! Here are a couple of tips from our experts to help you keep your family safe!

  • Wear bug spray - EPA-registered insect repellents do a great job of keeping mosquitoes at bay, and are proven safe and effective for use on adults and children. Make sure your chosen spray has an active ingredient like DEET, Picaridin, or IR3535, and always follow package directions to maximize effectiveness!
  • Cover your arms and legs when you head outside - Pants and long-sleeved shirts are an easy way to minimize exposed skin and keep mosquitoes from biting you, and are especially useful if you have children under 2 months of age who can’t use bug spray. To add even more protective benefits, treat your clothing with Permethrin, an insecticide designed to be applied to clothing for longer lasting protection. 
  • Be aware of mosquito prone areas - Whether you are planning to vacation in a mosquito heavy area or you happen to have a backyard that is plagued with mosquitos, being aware is a great first step to keeping your family safe! 
  • Do what you can to keep mosquitoes away - Easy steps like eliminating standing water in your outdoor areas and aerating outdoor pools and ponds can help reduce mosquito populations in your own backyard. You can also always consult the experts to get some help mosquito-proofing your backyard! 

Mosquitos are always a pain, but when they increase your risk of contracting diseases they become an even bigger problem! While mosquito-spread West Nile Virus is a serious condition, there are things you can do to protect your family and reduce the risk of contracting the virus. Need a little extra piece of mind? Give our experts a call at 832-783-9381 to schedule your Arizona mosquito control services today, so you can get back to enjoying your backyard worry-free!

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