Protect Yourself from West Nile Virus this Summer
With summer comes the return of mosquitoes and the risk of being infected by the West Nile virus. The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) encourages individuals to protect themselves and to mosquito-proof their properties and reduce the places that attract the insects.
“West Nile Virus is a concern in our area, and people should be aware and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites when they spend time outdoors,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the EOHU.
When outdoors, the EOHU recommends that you:
- Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods or when mosquitoes are most active from dusk to dawn
- Wear light-coloured clothing in tight-woven material
- Use mesh bug jackets or hats
- Consider the use of mosquito repellents used according to directions
- Use mosquito netting or screened structures when sleeping outdoors
To help control mosquito populations, eliminate breeding grounds in and around your property:
- Clean up and empty outdoor containers of stagnant water such as old tires, wheelbarrows, barrels, etc.
- Change water in bird baths at least once per week
- Check swimming pools and make sure the pool’s pump is circulating
- Turn over wading pools when not in use
- Check and clear eaves troughs and drains to clear obstructions
- Make sure drainage ditches are clear
- Check flat roofs frequently for standing water
- Carry out regular yard and lawn maintenance: collect or mulch any leaves or lawn cuttings, etc., that can serve as a food source for mosquito larvae
- Turn over compost frequently
- Fill in low depression areas in lawns
- Trim dense shrubbery where mosquitoes like to rest
For more information on how to avoid being infected with the West Nile virus during mosquito season, visit the Eastern Ontario Health Unit’s website at www.EOHU.ca and click on the My Environment section.