Avoid the Bite with These 5 Tips
2012 has seen an increase in West Nile Virus (WNV) cases due to mosquito bites. Especially hard hit is the United States where there have been around 100 000 people infected. 47 deaths have been confirmed. Texas alone accounts for almost half of these cases. Although not as prevalent in Toronto there have been, according to Toronto Public Health, 18 cases confirmed and 43 probable as of September 5th.
West Nile Virus symptoms can vary wildly between individuals. Some cases can go undetected (asymptomatic). Mild cases can cause flu-like symptoms and severe cases can result in muscle paralysis/weakness, convulsions, tremors and other symptoms related to encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). With summer ending it should no longer be an issue right? Wrong – WNV cases usually go up in September!
5 Ways to Protect Yourself from West Nile Virus
- Eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites. Mosquitoes love standing water so clean or remove sources of standing water such as bird baths, ease-troughs, old tires, toys and kid’s pools, plant containers, wheel barrows, outdoor animal dishes or anything else that might hold still water.
- Use fine mesh screens on windows ensuring a tight fit and that no holes are present.
- Use Health Canada approved insect repellant with 10 – 30% DEET. Use DEET minimally as it is dangerous in large doses. Don’t use DEET on children under 6 years of age.
- Protect yourself at peak mosquito times like dusk and dawn by wearing light coloured clothing, long sleeved shirts, pants, shoes and socks.
- Dr. Obvious, Chief Medical Officer of DUH, says: “Avoid the places that mosquitoes like to hang out. If you see a bunch of mosquitoes – vacate the area!”
For further information check out Toronto Public Health’s West Nile Info Page.
This article is also featured on The GoodLife Blog.
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One is right to be concerned here. No one really knows why this summer’s outbreak has been the worst on record, and where this all is headed. Do we all now go out and buy as much mosquito repellant and bottled water as we can? Information is the key. Stay informed; stay healthy.
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I was incredibly disappointed in your recommendation that people use insecticides containing DEET considering that it is neurotoxic to humans, and heaven knows what the impact is on animals and our Earth.
I have been a GoodLife member for years and it takes a lot for me to respond to information found in their newsletters. I am continually puzzled at the rampant disconnect between so many people in the “health” and fitness industry who recommend toxic products like this or so-called health or food drinks that are laden with toxins. And I will never forget GoodLife’s promo with the chocolate milk producers trying to claim it was a great post workout drink. Oh my. Really?
In any case, there are sooooooooooooo many products now available that can ward off mosquitoes that are not anywhere near as toxic as DEET. I for one, would like to leave our planet in better shape than it is now for generations to come. As a “health and fitness” expert, I hope that at some point your views broaden, become more holisitic and Earth-friendly and the entire planet.
Thanks for listening.
Thank you for your comment. There is no doubt that DEET is a dangerous product if used in large doses. What I should say in my article and thanks for pointing it out is that you should never use an insect repellent with more than 10-30% DEET concentration (I have since edited it). As well kids under 6 should not be exposed at all to it. I recommended DEET as it is classified as safe by Health Canada but that doesn’t mean it is the healthiest choice. If you are using a repellent with DEET use it very minimally. It is a better and healthier choice to use other methods like covering up exposed skin with clothing or netting. Sadly it is hard to avoid all toxins but your post has raised good points about the safety of using DEET.