Don't Let Mosquitoes Ruin Labor Day Fun
Tips to avoid mosquito bites and detect West Nile Virus symptoms.
Backyard barbecues are a time-honored tradition on Labor Day Weekend, but this year public health officials are recommending that residents take extra measures to protect themselves against unwanted guests--mosquitoes.
Responsible for the spread of West Nile virus (WNV) in 47 states, including Maryland, the tiny pests with a big bite have caused 1,590 cases of the disease in the United States this year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That's the highest number of infections since the disease was first reported in the country in 1999.
Of those reported WNV infections, 66 have been fatal, according to the CDC.
No cases of the disease have been reported in Howard County as of Aug. 28, but 13 cases have been reported throughout the state, and one person in Maryland has died from West Nile Virus.
While most who become infected with WNV don’t even know it due to lack of symptoms, about 20 percent of people will develop West Nile fever, characterized by fever, headache, body aches, fatigue, vomiting, swollen lymph nodes and at times, a rash, according to the CDC.
Children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of developing more serious symptoms, such as disorientation, tremors and coma. West Nile fever can persist for days or weeks and can be fatal.
Follow these tips from The Maryland Department of Agriculture to stay safe:
- Avoid unnecessary outdoor activities at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear long pants, long-sleeve shirt and hat when outdoors.
- Use mosquito repellents containing DEET. Consult a physician before applying DEET to young children.
- Restrict the outdoor play of your children if mosquitoes are present.
- Drain all water-holding outdoor containers around the home.
- Inspect basements and crawl spaces. If they are flooded, drain as quickly as possible.
- The very young, the elderly and persons with depressed immune systems are at most risk for acquiring disease from mosquito bites.
This article has been updated.