Tips on preventing West Nile Virus this summer

The Hastings Prince Edward Public Health provides great information in their recent newsletter about how to prevent West Nile virus.

We’ve all heard of West Nile virus. Here’s info on how it’s spread, and the steps to take to reduce the risk. The West Nile virus is most commonly spread to people by the bites of infected mosquitoes. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Within this region, mosquitoes that tend to carry the virus appear during the first week of July, peak in mid-August and decline by the last week of August.

Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, and lay their eggs in stagnant water such as catchbasins, dirty bird baths, tin cans, and poorly kept wading pools.

While eight out of 10 people infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms, some may develop severe illness. The typical signs and symptoms of severe illness include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.

The most effective ways to avoid West Nile virus disease are to prevent mosquito bites, and reduce the opportunity for mosquitoes to lay eggs/reproduce. Protect yourself and family in the following ways. Wear appropriate clothing. Wear a long-sleeved shirt or jacket and long pants (tucked into your socks for extra protection). Wear light-coloured clothing.

If you will be outdoors for wear special clothing that is designed to protect you from bugs. Cleaning up can also be helpful. Get rid of standing water around your home, at least once a week. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, so take steps to remove/replace even small amounts. Keep bushes and shrubs clear of overgrowth and debris (adult mosquitoes like to rest in dense shrubbery). Use insect repellant. Choose a bug repellent containing DEET or Icaridin.

Always read and follow all the label directions when using any insect repellent. Find out more at and search for West Nile Virus. Don’t miss out on any of the upcoming active living program offerings that Community Care has scheduled for August.

The best thing is to check the Activity Calendar at There are over 50 webinars to choose from.

And the curbside meal for August will be scrumptious. Call 613-476-7493 for information.

-Debbie MacDonald Moynes