Health officials offer tips to avoid West Nile virus

 Snow Hill, Md. – Health officials of Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties advise residents to take measures to protect themselves from West Nile virus in light of increased activity nationwide.

 

Mosquitoes in the area have tested positive for the West Nile virus. The best way to prevent contracting the virus is to avoid mosquito bites:

 

  • Avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk or wear long sleeves and pants at this time.

  • When outdoors use insect repellents and follow instructions.

  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors.

  • Use air conditioning if you have it.

  • Empty standing water from items outside your home such as gutters, flowerpots, buckets, kiddie pools, pet bowls and bird baths.

 

Most people with West Nile virus will show no symptoms; however, some people may have mild to severe symptoms that may include fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent a West Nile virus infection. People with milder illnesses typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks. People age 50 and older and those with certain medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease and organ transplants are at greater risk for serious illness.

 

Anyone who has symptoms that cause concern should contact a health care provider.

 

Although birds are not routinely tested for West Nile virus in Maryland, sick or injured birds can be reported to an appropriate local wildlife rehabilitator. Residents can call 1-877-463-6497 for a list of licensed rehabilitators or visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website at http://www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/rehab.asp.  Additional information is available at this website: http://ideha.dhmh.maryland.gov/OIDEOR/CZVBD/SitePages/west-nile.aspx