Department of Public Health
can I protect myself and my family from mosquito bites?
There is no
vaccine for West Nile virus (WNV). The only way to protect yourself is to keep
mosquitoes from biting you. Follow these steps every summer if you live in or
visit an area with mosquitoes:
- Avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn,
if possible, since this is the time when mosquitoes are most active.
- If you must be outdoors when mosquitoes are
active, wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants.
- Use a mosquito repellent that contains DEET (the
chemical N-N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) and follow the directions on the
label. DEET can be toxic if overused. Never use DEET on infants. Avoid
using repellents with DEET concentrations above 10-15% for children and
with concentrations above 30-35% for adults. Cream, lotion or stick
formulas are best. Avoid products with high amounts of alcohol.
- Most mosquito repellents will remain effective
for many hours, so it is not necessary to reapply the repellent. Once
inside, wash off insect repellents thoroughly with soap and water.
- Take special care to cover up the arms and legs
of children playing outdoors. When you bring a baby outdoors, cover the
baby's carriage or playpen with mosquito netting.
- Fix any holes in your screens and make sure they
are tightly attached to all your doors and windows
How can I reduce the number of mosquitoes around my home and
mosquito populations around your home and neighborhood, get rid of any standing
water that is available for mosquito breeding. Mosquitoes will breed in any
puddle or standing water that lasts for more than four days. Here are some
simple steps you can take:
- Dispose of or regularly empty any metal cans,
plastic containers, ceramic pots, and other water-holding containers
(including trash cans) on your property.
- Pay special attention to discarded tires that
may have collected on your property. Tires are a common place for
mosquitoes to breed.
- Drill holes in the bottom of recycling
containers that are left outdoors, to let water drain out.
- Clean clogged roof gutters; remove leaves and
debris that may prevent drainage of rainwater.
- Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows
when not in use.
- Do not allow water to stagnate in birdbaths;
aerate ornamental ponds or stock them with fish.
- Keep swimming pools clean and properly
chlorinated; remove standing water from pool covers.
- Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that
collects on your property.