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Suffredin Urges Constituents to Take Precautions Against West Nile Virus

Monday, June 13, 2005
Special to suffredin.org

As warm spring temperatures give way to the heat of summer, it is time for people to take action to protect themselves from the mosquito-borne disease West Nile Virus. Commissioner Suffredin reminds the public that precautions are important for everyone spending time outdoors but the young and older residents of our community are especially vulnerable.

Actions you can take to make sure you are properly protected:

· Limit time outdoors when mosquito activity is heaviest (dusk to dawn).

· If outside between dusk and dawn, keep your skin covered. Wear socks, shoes, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.

· Apply mosquito repellent containing 20-35% DEET primarily to clothing. Concentrations of 10% or less are indicated for children. Use sparingly on exposed skin. This year, in addition to DEET, the CDC is recommending products containing picaridin and lemon of eucalyptus. Always follow label directions. Talk to your doctor before applying repellent to infants or children.

· Eliminate any containers from around the outside of the home that may hold water. This includes old tires, tin cans, buckets, or bottles. Plastic wading pools and bird baths should be emptied frequently. Water that is allowed to stagnate for three or four days becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

· Keep gutters, downspout screens and flat roofs cleared of debris and in good repair.

· Make sure screens in homes are intact and tight fighting to prevent entry of insects. Use using mosquito netting over strollers.

· Small pools of water can be treated for mosquito larvae with "Bit", a bacterial insecticide. Many hardware stores carry doughnut-shaped Bit briquets for this purpose. Always follow label directions.

· Keep weeds and tall grasses cut short. Adult mosquitoes look for these shady places to rest during the hot daylight hours.

Whether West Nile Virus is a serious threat this summer remains to be seen so it is important that people protect themselves. The public can also help monitor West Nile Virus by reporting dead birds, especially a dead crow or blue jay, to the Cook County Department of Public Health by calling 708-492-2650.

Additional information on West Nile Virus can be found on the Cook County Public Health Department website, www.cookcountypublichealth.org, or on the Illinois Department of Public Health website at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm. The Illinois Department of Public Health can also be reached by phone at 866-369-9710 (toll-free).


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