Medical Minute: Protecting Yourself Against West Nile Virus

Saturday, July 22nd 2017, 10:39 am

Protecting yourself and your family against West Nile Virus is vital in this summer weather.

The hot, dry months are when we see the most cases of West Nile Virus in Oklahoma, and unfortunately we already have our first confirmed case.

The mosquito that transmits West Nile Virus thrives this time of the year.

“We can never predict the West Nile season and how many cases we'll see, but our highest risk months are always July to October,” said epidemiologist Amanda Shoemate.

So how do you protect yourself? Wear Mosquito repellant with DEET and avoid being outside when mosquitos are the most active at dusk and dawn,

There are even clothes coated in pyrethrin, a natural mosquito repellant.

Around the house, you can put screens on your windows and plug any holes, lean out gutters and keep a look out for any standing water.

“Turning over stand water, refreshing your bird baths with new water, emptying your pets water bowl every day with new water, just eliminating this possible breeding ground for mosquitoes,” Shoemate stated.

Keep in mind, the state health department reports 80 percent of those infected with West Nile won't become ill from the virus. 

Only one percent of those bitten go on to develop severe neurological symptoms. Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

West Nile fever symptoms can include: severe headaches, fever, nausea and diarrhea. The one reported case of West Nile infection in Oklahoma so far this year is in Cleveland County.