The year's first human case of West Nile virus has hit Lubbock County and although summer is coming to a close the health department is urging folks to continue using preventative measures to keep the virus from spreading.
Beckie Brawley, the health department’s public health coordinator, said it’s typical to see the first case of West Nile virus around this time of year.
“The weather gets cooler and it’s not so hot now so folks forget when they're out that they still need to put on the mosquito repellent and to dress appropriately,” said Brawley.
Brawley said mosquitoes will be around until the first freeze.
“That’s something people really need to be aware of,” said Brawley. “I know there’s lots of activities fixing to start going on because it’s fall and football games and the fairs coming, but people still need to wear their repellent.”
Wearing repellent is even more important now that a case of West Nile has been confirmed.
“They can start with a fever and then aches and pains, loss of appetite,” said Brawley. “It can turn into very serious complications. You can have some neuroinvasive problems when you’re infected with West Nile which can end up with you being in the hospital.”
Because those side effects can be fatal, Brawley is urging everyone, especially those with weakened immune systems, to follow the ‘4 D’s’ to avoid infection:
Dawn and Dusk, DEET, Drain, Dress
1. Avoid being out when mosquitoes feed – usually at Dawn and Dusk.
2. Wear protective clothing. Long sleeves and pants when outdoors. (DRESS)
3. Use appropriate repellant and according to instructions on the label. Spray clothing with repellent as mosquitoes can bite through thin fabric. Apply repellent to exposed skin. CDC guidelines recommend repellents containing up to 35% DEET for adults, up to 10% DEET for children. Repellents can irritate the eyes and mouth so avoid applying to children’s hands.
4. Avoid perfume – they attract mosquitoes.
Protecting the Home:
1. Install or repair window and door screens to keep mosquitoes from indoors.
2. Get rid of standing water around the house. Mosquitoes need water to breed. Empty plant saucers, pet dishes, and any containers, such as old tires that have collected water. Change the water in kiddie pools and birdbaths daily. (DRAIN)
3. Keep yard mowed. Mosquitoes hide in tall brush and grasses.
4. Residents are asked to report problem areas with mosquitos by calling the Mosquito Hotline at 775-3110.
Consult your physician for any illness that you suspect may be “West Nile Virus”.