Public Health Nurse Lisa White recommends the following steps to “fight the bite” and avoid infection with West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE or “Triple E”):
Applying Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Repellents with DEET, permethrin, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 are effective. Be sure to use these according to the instructions on the product label and note precautions for use on infants and children.
Avoiding outdoor activities during peak mosquito hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes.
Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors to help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
Draining standing water where Mosquitoes lay their eggs. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, store wheelbarrows upside down, and change water in birdbaths frequently.
Installing or repairing screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Protecting your animals. Flush water troughs at least once a week and keep horses in indoor stalls at night with lights off to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes.
Zika virus, Dengue fever, Chikungunya are other mosquito-borne diseases you can get when traveling abroad. At this time, only people traveling to places with ongoing Zika virus outbreaks or engaging in sexual activity with someone who has traveled to these places are at risk for getting these infections. For up to date information about where Zika virus is occurring: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices.
For more information on WNV, EEE, repellent use and other mosquito-borne illness prevention visit www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito or contact Lisa White, Regional Public Health Nurse for the towns of Buckland, Charlemont, Conway, Deerfield, Gill, Hawley, Heath, Leyden, Monroe, Rowe and Shelburne at 413-665-1400 x114.