With temperatures rising this spring, the mosquito season is coming upon us. Even if there are no reports of West Nile virus in your area, it is always a good practice to protect yourself and your family from the bites. The following has been adapted from various official sources. See Sources tab to see the original articles. Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites• When going outdoors, use insect repellents that contain DEET or other approved ingredients
• Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants and a hat. Light coloured clothing is best because mosquitoes tend to be attracted to dark colours
• Make sure that door and window screens fit tightly and have no holes that may allow mosquitoes indoors Eliminate mosquito breeding sites around your home and vacation propertyMosquitoes lay eggs in standing water and it takes about four days for the eggs to grow into adults that are ready to fly. Even a small amount of water, for example, in a saucer under a flower pot, is enough to act as a breeding ground. As a result, it is important to eliminate as much standing water around your property as possible by: • Regularly (twice a week) draining standing water from items like pool covers, saucers under flower pots, recycle bins, garbage cans, etc.
• Remove old unused items from around your property (i.e., old tires) which have a tendency to collect water
• Change the water in wading pools, bird baths, pet bowls and livestock watering tanks twice a week
• Cover rain barrels with screens
• Clean out eaves troughs regularly to prevent clogs that can trap water.
• Purchase an aerator or ornamental pond. This will keep the surface water moving which will make the water inhospitable to mosquito larvae.
Safety tips for children• If you have an old wagon or a plastic wading pool in your yard that is full of water, empty it when you’re not using it. That way, a mosquito can’t lay eggs in it.
• Have a parent or other adult spray your clothes with insect repellent. Ask them to use repellent that has DEET in it.
• Don’t get mosquito repellent in your eyes or mouth, and don’t get it on your hands.
• Finish your outside play or sports before it begins to get dark. That’s when mosquitoes are usually out.
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when you’re outside in the early morning or evening. Be aware of West Nile virus exposureWest Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause West Nile Non-Neurological syndrome (formerly known as West Nile fever) or occasionally the more serious West Nile Neurological Syndrome.
Symptoms of the milder West Nile Non-Neurological syndrome (WN Non-NS) are flu-like and include headache, fever, chills, fatigue, swollen glands and a skin rash. More severe West Nile Neurological Syndrome (WN NS) is indicated by symptoms of neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors or convulsions, difficulty moving, muscle weakness and paralysis or coma. West Nile virus symptoms usually appear within two to 14 days. Anyone developing these symptoms should consult a physician immediately.
The period of greatest risk of West Nile virus transmission to humans is between mid-July and mid-August. The success of theCulex tarsalis mosquito acting as a transmitter of the virus is dependent on consistent warm weather from early June through mid-August. The risk of West Nile virus is highest in the southern part of the province.