Protecting Yourself from West Nile Virus
The best way to protect yourself against West Nile Virus is to minimize your exposure to mosquitoes. Consider these precautions:
  • Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
  • Wear earth-tone colors, such as olive, khaki and brown.  Mosquitoes are attracted to contrast, and these colors will reduce that contrast.
  • Use a mosquito repellent containing DEET. Apply it sparingly to exposed skin and clothing. Follow all directions on product labels. The more DEET a repellent contains, the longer it protects. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends repellents used on children contain no more than 10 percent DEET. All products containing DEET are safe when used according to directions.
  • Repellants containing natural substances such as citronella and eucalyptus provide only moderate protection and may be effective for as little as 20 minutes.
  • Make sure windows, doors and screens are “bug tight.”
  • Stay indoors at dawn, dusk, and early evening when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Use the proper type of lights outside: incandescent lights attract mosquitoes; fluorescent lights neither attract nor
    repel mosquitoes.

  • Spray trees and shrubs just before you plan to spend time in your yard. Insecticides for use in and around your home are available as ready-to-use sprays, aerosols, and concentrates to be diluted in water or used in foggers. Look for products containing carbaryl, cyfluthrin, malathion, permethrin and pyrethrins. Read labels closely to be sure you are getting the product you need and are applying it in the way it was intended.

The Environmental Protection Agency offers information on using repellents safely, what you should know about the repellent ingredient DEET, and the use of pesticides for mosquito control.

Additional information on DEET is available in a publication found at (PDF file)

For tips on reducing the mosquito population, see our tips on controlling mosquitoes.



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