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The Texas Department of State Health Services urges people to take precautions to reduce the risk of contracting West Nile virus, a mosquito borne illness. People should use insect repellent when outdoors and avoid going outside at dusk and dawn. There has been a higher than usual number of human West Nile cases in Texas this year due to the warm winter and recent rains, particularly in the North Texas region.
Find additional West Nile Information:
Take the following precautions:
- Use an approved insect repellent every time you go outside and follow the instructions on the label. Approved repellents are those that contain DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
- Regularly drain standing water, including water that collects in empty cans, tires, buckets, clogged rain gutters, and saucers under potted plants. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water.
- Wear long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- Use air conditioning or make sure there are screens on all doors and windows to keep mosquitoes from entering the home.
- Texans who are elderly and those with chronic medical conditions or compromised immune systems are more vulnerable to developing West Nile illness if they are bitten by an infected mosquito.
- There is no effective treatment for West Nile Virus illnesses, so itís important to prevent mosquito bites.
- Help neighbors who are elderly, have disabilities or access and functional needs to repair their windows or door screens to keep mosquitoes out and with other precautions to reduce their risk of becoming ill.
- Also remember other Texans with access or functional needs in your communities who may need assistance in reducing their risk of illness.
- Aerial spraying is a very effective and safe way to kill adult mosquitoes in large, densely populated areas.
- We understand that many people have concerns about exposure during aerial spraying; for those people, health officials suggest the following precautions:
- Minimize exposure. Avoid being outside, close windows, and consider keeping pets inside while spraying occurs.
- If skin or clothes are exposed, wash them with soap and water.
- Rinse homegrown fruits and vegetables with water as a general precautionary measure.
- Cover small ornamental fish ponds.
Because the chemical breaks down quickly in sunlight and water, no special precautions are suggested for outdoor swimming areas