Health officials reminding Oklahomans to continue mosquito precautions
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma State Department of Health is encouraging Oklahomans to continue taking precautions to reduce the risk of contracting West Nile Virus, a mosquito-borne illness.
So far in 2018, the OSDH reports there are seven confirmed cases of WNV disease with one case leading to a death. Five causes have occurred among Oklahomans older than 50 years of age. Most cases have been reported in August and September.
Health officials are reminding the public that mosquitoes often spread the virus through October and it is important to take precautions to prevent getting bitten by an infected mosquito.
Tips on preventing mosquito bites:
- Use an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin and clothing when going outdoors, particularly between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are more likely to bite. Insect repellent with permethrin should be used on clothing only. Always follow instructions when applying repellent.
- Avoid spraying repellent on a child’s hands, eyes, mouth or irritated skin. Adults should apply repellent to their hands and then apply to a child’s face.
- Products containing DEET may be used on children older than 2 months of age.
- Protect infants by putting a mosquito net over infant carriers and strollers.
- Avoid outdoor activities when Culex mosquitoes are most active in the early morning and early evening.
- When weather permits, wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors.
- Repair or install window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of the home.
- Prevent items such as buckets, cans, pool covers, flower pots, children’s toys and tires from holding water so mosquitoes don’t have a place to breed.
- Clean leaves and debris from rain gutters regularly to ensure they are not clogged.
- Repair any leaking faucets or irrigation systems.
- Symptoms of WNV vary widely depending on a person’s risk for more severe disease that involves the central nervous system. Some may experience sudden onset of fever, headache, dizziness, and muscle weakness and recover within one to three weeks while others develop life-threatening meningitis or encephalitis causing confusion, stupor, paralysis or a coma.
Long-lasting complications of WNV disease can include difficulty concentrating, migraine headaches, extreme muscle weakness and tremors, and paralysis of a limb. Those older than the age of 50, diabetics, or those suffering from uncontrolled hypertension are at greater risk of developing severe neurologic disease from WNV.
There is no vaccine or treatment drug for the illness.
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