Care can prevent virus

Published 10:22 am Friday, July 31, 2015

The Ohio Department of Health recently reported the state’s first two human cases of West Nile virus of the year.

While this certainly isn’t a cause for panic, it is worth mentioning in hopes that people will take precautions. This summer has been hot, humid and damp, which has caused high mosquito populations, and that’s how West Nile is transmitted.

Thankfully, the risk of transmission is pretty low and most people who become infected with West Nile virus do not have any symptoms. One in five people, however, who become infected, develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash, so it’s important to know what to watch out for.

In rare cases, infected people develop a serious neurologic illness, such as encephalitis or meningitis. One of the cases in Ohio involves an elderly man with encephalitis.

If you’re going to be outdoors in the evening, cover your arms and legs or wear mosquito repellant. Fabric softener dryer sheets also act as a repellant.

To keep mosquitos from congregating around your home, eliminate any standing water, including buckets, unused flowerpots and birdbaths and wading pools when not in use.

There are also a few plants you can plant — such as citronella, marigolds, lavender, basil and catnip — that mosquitos don’t like.

To find out more information about West Nile virus, visit the www.odh.ohio.gov/wnv.