NEW JERSEY -- Several states across the country are reporting large numbers of West Nile Virus (WNV) cases, and the virus is being blamed for illness and deaths, says the New Jersey Poison Center.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this is the worst outbreak in many years,” they said in a release. “It is not yet known whether New Jersey will be the next state to get hit hard by this outbreak, but we caution the public to be alert and take measures to prevent becoming a victim. Since the WNV is spread from mosquitoes to humans, the NJ Poison Experts suggest the following safety tips:
Safety Tips to Decrease Risk of Contracting West Nile Virus (WNV):
• When the weather permits, wear long-sleeved, loose-fitting shirts and long pants whenever outdoors. Pants should be tucked into socks or boot tops to help keep insects from reaching the skin.
• Limit outdoor activities at dawn, dusk, and the early evenings when mosquitoes are most active. Exposure to mosquitoes can be decreased simply by limiting time spent outdoors.
• Eliminate standing water that collects in birdbaths, flower pots, swimming pool covers, buckets and containers, pet food and water dishes, tires, barrels, unused pools and roof gutters. Standing (stagnant) water can be the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
• Place mosquito netting over infant carriers when you are outdoors with infants.
• Install or repair window and door screens to prevent mosquitoes from getting indoors.
• Apply 10% to 35% DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) containing insect repellent to clothes and exposed skin when taking part in outdoor activities. DEET is available in many formulations including lotions, solutions, creams, gels, sprays, and towelettes. Insect repellents should NOT be sprayed on the face since they may irritate the eyes and mouth. Instead, spray onto hands and then rub onto the face. Insect repellants are NOT suggested for very young children (< 3 years old) and application to broken skin or wounds should be avoided, but can be applied to clothing. Concentrations above 15% should be applied to clothing rather than skin. Insect repellents must be reapplied, as per the directions, at intervals.
If you would like further information about West Nile Virus, DEET or DEET containing products, call the NJ Poison Experts at 800-222-1222; they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year to assist you.