Tags: west | nile | cdc | mosquito

Report: Best Ways to Fight West Nile, Bugs

Monday, 03 Sep 2012 02:50 PM

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting record cases of West Nile virus this summer, with more than 1,500 so far this year. So, what can you do to lower your risk of being infected with the sometimes-deadly virus by mosquitoes?
Consumer Reports has issued a new report on the best insect repellents to keep the biting bugs at bay, as well as other strategies to fight WNV-carrying mosquitoes.
“Consumers will be tempted to slather themselves with insect repellents but there’s much more you can do to avoid mosquitoes,” said Nicole Sarrubbo, an associate editor at Consumer Reports. “We recommend clearing areas with standing water, such as bird feeders and flower pots, and avoiding bodies of water which may be breeding grounds for mosquitoes. And use other tactics like staying inside during peak biting hours such as dawn and dusk, wearing long sleeves and long pants when possible, and limiting your use of scented products which may attract mosquitoes.”
Tests by the magazine’s researchers found several insect repellents performed better than others, with some offering protection for eight hours or more against two common types of mosquitoes and deer ticks that can spread Lyme disease. Four of Consumer Reports’ six top choices contain deet in varying levels – Off Deep Woods Sportsmen (30 percent), Cutter Backwoods Unscented (23 percent), Off FamilyCare Smooth & Dry (15 percent), and 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent 8 (25 percent).
The active ingredient in Repel Plant Based Lemon Eucalyptus is oil of lemon eucalyptus. (not recommended for children under 3). Almost as effective was Natrapel 8-Hour, which contians picaridin, a chemical newer than deet.
The magazine’s editors noted that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has deemed deet safe when used as directed, but it can cause rare toxic reactions when misused. It’s not recommended for infants younger than 2 months old and the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against using repellents with deet concentrations higher than 30 percent on any children.
CDC experts have also warned against products that mix sunscreen with deet insect repellent. Other tips for protecting yourself:
• When applying repellent, follow directions. Use your hands to apply it to your face, avoiding your eyes and mouth, and don't apply it to cuts. Use just enough to cover exposed skin.
• Wear light-colored, loose clothes and avoid using scented products when outdoors, especially at peak feeding hours – dusk to dawn for most mosquitoes.
• Remove standing water near your house that can become a mosquito breeding ground.
• To avoid ticks, tuck pants into socks and wear closed shoes and a hat.
• Inspect yourself for ticks after venturing into wooded or grassy areas.

© HealthDay

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With the CDC reporting record cases of West Nile virus, experts urge ways to lower your risk.
Monday, 03 Sep 2012 02:50 PM
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