There are several steps you can take to avoid mosquito bites and reduce your chances of being exposed to West Nile Virus:
- If you must go outside during these periods, wear loose-fitting clothing with long sleeves and pants.
- Try to stay inside during peak periods of activity for mosquitoes, usually at dawn and dusk.
- Use a repellent that contains at least 10- 30% DEET. Most over-the-counter repellents now prominently list whether they contain DEET or not on their labels. Research has shown that formulations that contain DEET are the most effective at repelling mosquitos.
- Work on reducing any potential breeding sources of standing water on your own property.
Remember: The chance that any one person is going to become ill with West Nile Virus from a single mosquito bite remains low. It is estimated that only 1 percent of the mosquitos out there at any given time are actually carrying the virus and that only 1-2 % of the people that are bitten by an infected mosquito develop full-stage symptoms of the disease. Statistically, the risk of severe illness and death is highest for people over 50 years old, although people of all ages can become ill.
If you have any concerns about West Nile Virus or desire more information on this subject, please see the Mosquitos page , or go to the Texas Department of Health or the US Center for Disease Control .