Prevention & Recovery

West Nile virus: 9 prevention tips

Author: Canadian Living

Prevention & Recovery

West Nile virus: 9 prevention tips

This story was originally titled "West Nile: Protect your family" in the May 2008 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!

West Nile virus can be a major summertime health concern. The good news is that with a little knowledge of the breeding and feeding habits of mosquitoes (the carriers of the virus), you can better protect yourself and your family while up at the cottage, says Dr. Bonnie Henry, a physician at the Centre for Disease Control in British Columbia. Consider these tips to reduce your chances of being infected by the virus.

Fill any holes in the ground around your property with dirt. When it rains, mosquitoes breed in these damp, wet spaces.

• Check empty spots where water collects, such as birdbaths, wheelbarrows and inflatable pools, once a week; mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water.

Turn over any unused flowerpots in your garden. They provide ideal egg laying ground.

Repair or replace damaged screens and windows. "Mosquitoes can enter through the smallest opening," says Henry. 

Clear your eaves trough of leaves and twigs. They are magnets for mosquitoes, says Henry.

Wear long-sleeved, light-coloured clothing in the evening, when mosquitoes are most active.

Minimize or eliminate outdoor activities from dusk until dawn, when mosquitoes tend to be out more.

Cut your grass frequently – mosquitoes are attracted to long grass for relief of the heat. 

Use repellant that contains DEET or lemon eucalyptus oil.

Read more: 101 ways to enjoy your healthiest summer ever.


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Prevention & Recovery

West Nile virus: 9 prevention tips