The Buzz-z-z-z on West Nile Virus
You may have heard people talking or seen news reports about West Nile, a virus that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. In areas where the West Nile Virus has been found, very few mosquitoes have it. It's true that the virus can cause an infection in the brain, but the chances that you will get very sick from any one mosquito bite are re-e-e-ally low. But, you still want to protect yourself and pitch in to help cut down on the number of mosquitoes.
So What Should You Do?
You've gotta get out and get active! Just remember, when you go outside, apply some mosquito repellent to your skin. Repellents that contain DEET are the most effective, but make sure you rub them on according to the directions. A good rule of thumb from the experts is that kids should use mosquito repellents with less than 10% DEET. Get your parents to help you put it on your face so you don't get it in your mouth or eyes. And wash your hands after you apply it.
To be on the safe side about using repellents, you and your parents should check out the latest from CDC on the West Nile Virus and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) for more information.
Raise your protective barrier
Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants to hide your skin from the mosquitoes. Top it off with a hat. You can even spray your clothes with a mosquito repellent to keep them away. Ask your parents to help you spray all those hard-to-reach spots.
Check out your environment
While some mosquitoes lay their eggs in ponds and swamps, other mosquitoes like to leave their eggs in standing water, like water left in buckets and wading pools. Think about it...the fewer places mosquitoes can lay their eggs, the fewer mosquitoes there are! Help cut down the number of mosquitoes by checking around your home, yard, deck, or neighborhood for standing water. Empty flowerpot saucers and turn over buckets. If you have a birdbath, clean it at least once a week.
Play it safe
Many types of mosquitoes are "night flyers," so you may be more likely to get bitten around sundown...or around sun-up, if you're an early riser! So you don't get bitten at these times, either head indoors around sundown, or be extra sure to cover up and use repellent.