It may seem like the summer is over and those nasty mosquitos are gone, but West Nile Virus is still alive and kicking!
In Boulder County (Colorado), 20 cases of west Nile were found and 2 are still under investigation as of this week. There have been 80 cases reported state wide.
Most people infected with the virus won’t even feel sick, but 1 in 5 will have flu-like illness that can last from 1 week to more than 3 months. Symptoms include fever, extreme fatigue, headache and body aches, a skin rash and swollen glands. These symptoms usually occur 3-14 days after being bitten. Of those who become sick, 1 in 150 will have severe symptoms such as convulsions, muscle rigidity, confusion and paralysis.
A special blood test can confirm the diagnosis. It measures antibodies produced within 8 days of the onset of symptoms.
This virus is not spread from person to person. A mosquito bite is necessary to become infected. The good news (if any) is that once infected, a person will develop lifetime immunity.
The 5 things to do to prevent mosquito bites:
Use Deet when going outdoors. Alternative sprays containing catnip oil, oil of eucalyptus or soybean oil need to be applied at least every 2 hours.
Dusk to dawn is peak mosquito-biting time, so cover up and apply bug spray.
Dress in long sleeves, long pants, socks and closed shoes, especially in weeds or tall grass and during peak hours.
Doors and screens should be well-fitted. Check screens for holes where mosquitos can enter.
Drain any standing water around your house.
The risk for West Nile is high until the first frost. Use these tips to protect yourself and your family from West Nile Virus.