Health Watch -- End of Summer: West Nile
Health Watch is a public service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.
This week on Health Watch, we're talking about summer's last gasp. Labor Day weekend is a popular time for outdoor activities, but the season for West Nile virus runs through September. This virus, which is transmitted by mosquito bites, usually causes mild, flu-like symptoms, but it can be fatal for some people.
Dr. Gary Sinclair, an infectious diseases expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, says you can limit your risk by avoiding outdoor activity in the morning and evening, when mosquitoes are most active. For outdoor activities, use an insect repellent containing DEET. If in a wooded area, long sleeves and long pants tucked into boots can also help you keep from being bitten. Keep window screens and tents in good repair so mosquitoes can't get in, and eliminate standing water to cut down on mosquito breeding areas.
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