Up next in First Aid: When Nature Attacks (14 videos)
The great outdoors can cause not-so-great injuries and illnesses. Know how to treat them with the advice in this Howcast video series about first aid.
You Will Need
- Insect repellant with DEET
- Home maintenance
A promising treatment was published in 2004 for West Nile virus encephalitis. It uses already existing, safe drugs present in every drug store. Anybody interested in downloading the documents for GenoMed’s clinical trial can do so by clicking on 'WNV trial' at www.genomed.com.
First of all, relax. Roughly 80% of people who catch the West Nile virus have no symptoms at all. Twenty percent have mild, flu-like symptoms, and only 1 in 150 have the serious symptoms that land them in the hospital.
Don’t touch dead birds
Stay away from dead birds. Mosquitoes get the West Nile virus from biting infected birds.
Wear insect repellant
Wear insect repellant with DEET when outdoors, especially during prime mosquito feeding times—from dusk to dawn. Spray the repellant on exposed skin and clothes.
Wear loose, light-colored long-sleeved shirts, pants, and socks. (Mosquitoes are attracted to dark clothing.) Tuck in your shirt, and tuck your pants into your shoes or socks. Avoid thin cotton; mosquitoes can bite through it.
Eliminate standing water
Get rid of places where mosquitoes lay their eggs, meaning stagnant water in things like ceramic pots, kiddie pools, watering cans, flowerpot saucers, and old tires. Change the water in birdbaths and vases at least twice a week. Keep swimming pools treated and ornamental pools aerated and/or filled with fish.
Make your home less mosquito friendly
Make your home less mosquito friendly. Plug up holes, keep grass short, trim bushes and shrubs, sweep up wet leaves, and clean out gutters.
Be especially vigilant in high risk areas
Be especially vigilant about protecting yourself from mosquito bites in states with high incidences of West Nile virus like South and North Dakota, Wyoming, New Mexico, Mississippi, Nebraska, Louisiana, and Colorado.
Avoid exposure to pesticides
Avoid exposure to the pesticides that many communities spray to control West Nile virus by staying indoors during application times, usually at night. Check with your local health department for spraying schedules.
Consult a doctor
Consult a doctor if you develop extreme swelling or infection at the site of a mosquito bite. Other symptoms include fever, muscle weakness, a stiff neck, confusion, a severe headache, and sudden sensitivity to light. In rare cases, the West Nile virus can cause encephalitis or paralysis.