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Health Unit: mosquitos, West Nile virus still a threat

This week officially marks the first day of fall, but Susan Healey says a summer pest is still worth accounting for.

“September has remained warm and those pesky mosquitoes are still active,” says Healey, the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit’s Communications Coordinator. “You can still enjoy the outdoors by taking a few steps  to protect yourself from mosquito bites and the viruses they spread.”

Healey says West Nile virus, which can be spread by mosquitoes, isn’t likely to have significant effects on most people, but can be dangerous to the elderly and immunocompromised.

Beyond taking steps to limit the amount of mosquito bites you get, like using bug repellent and covering your arms and legs before going outdoors, Healey says you can be proactive to limit the number of mosquitoes near your home.

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“Reduce mosquito breeding grounds around your home by eliminating standing water including cleaning your eavestroughs, emptying bird baths and cleaning up items that collect water,” she explains.

Other steps you can take include putting fine mesh netting on top of any rain barrels you have, using netting on strollers to protect infants from insect bites, and patching up any holes in screens around your home to keep them from coming inside.

If you start to feel unwell after getting a mosquito bite, Healey says you should contact your doctor. You can read more about mosquito safety and West Nile virus on the Health Unit website.

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