West Nile Virus Confirmed In Houston: Here’s How To Protect Yourself

As Houston / Harris County confirms it’s first human case of West Nile Virus this year, and mosquitoes test positive for infection in The Woodlands / Montgomery County, we thought you might appreciate some tips on how to avoid catching the illness.

West Nile Virus is spread through mosquitoes bites, and there is no vaccine. If symptoms present, most people only experience a low-grade fever or mild headache. However, while usually mild, this isn’t a virus you want to catch. Some people develop life-threatening reactions. Anyone experiencing severe headache, fever, disorientation, or sudden weakness, should get medical attention immediately, as this could indicate brain swelling.

The best way to protect you and your family against West Nile Virus is to avoid mosquito bights. Unfortunately, in Houston, that’s a tall order. Here are some ways you can reduce your risk of bights. While most of these are common sense, some you may not have thought of, so … read on!

Mosquitoes breed in pools of standing water, so eliminating standing water from your property and surrounding areas is important. This includes:

  • Unclog and drain the gutters along your roof
  • Empty kid’s toys, swimming pools, and sandboxes after rain
  • If your yard doesn’t drain well after rain and has lots of lingering puddles, fill in the low areas, or consider installing a drainage system
  • Change water in birdbaths at least weekly
  • Keep swimming pools maintained and clean
  • Remove any unused plant pots or containers that might hold water

Reduce Your Exposure to Mosquitoes:

  • Avoid unnecessary outdoor activity during early morning and early evening when mosquitoes are most prevalent
  • Avoid mosquito infested areas, such as around stagnant ponds
  • Use mosquito repellent, following the directions on the package, and paying special attention to the recommendations for use on children
  • When outside, cover your baby’s stroller with mosquito netting
  • If possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when you go into mosquito-infested areas or are out of doors for prolonged periods, especially at night

While a vaccine is available to protect horses from West Nile virus, no vaccine is available yet for humans.

h/t The Mayo Clinic

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