Protect your family from the West Nile Virus

September 11, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Did you know that right now is peak season for the West Nile Virus? Our House Doctor Lisa Quinn got some tips from mosquito expert Joseph Symond on how you can protect your family from mosquito bites and the virus.

California has the highest rate of reported West Nile Virus cases this year . Health officials across California are urging parents to protect children from the mosquito bites that spread the deadly disease. There are many easy and natural ways to protect your family, you don't have to lather kids in repellants full of pesticides.

Natural ways to avoid WNV

1. Use products (candles, creams and other devices) containing natural insect repellants including citronella, geranium and lemon eucalyptus, cinnamon, rosemary, lemongrass and peppermint.

2. There are many natural repellants available on the market - a new, solution, great for kids is Bug Bam! Insect Repelling Wristband the only 100% natural repellent scientifically-proven by leading US entomology labs to repel mosquitoes and other biting insects in 98 percent of the population.

3. Install window and door fly-screens, make sure they stay closed (get kids in the habit of checking they have shut them properly)

4. Drain sources of stagnant water (standing water is where mosquitoes lay eggs; flower pots, bird baths, ponds, neglected pools and hot tubs, open boats and wheelbarrows

5. Avoid fragrant hair spray and cologne

6. Particularly avoid exposure when mosquitoes are most active, at dusk and dawn, if you are out at this time wear full length, loose clothing in LIGHT colors - mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors.

About West Nile Virus
While 80 percent of people exposed to West Nile Virus never experience symptoms, up to 20 percent suffer debilitating symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph glands or skin rashes, according to the CDC.

About one in 150 infected people develop serious complications such as high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. Rarer is potentially fatal West Nile encephalitis, or brain inflammation; and West Nile meningitis, inflammation of membrane in the brain and spinal cord.

So far in 2008, WNV cases in humans have been reported in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming, according to CDC data. Further instances of the avian disease have been reported in birds, insects and animals in other US states. Link to CDC map.

Why a powerful natural repellent is preferable to chemical repellents:
DEET, or diethyl-meta-toluamide, is the chemical pesticide most commonly used in insect repellents. In some instances DEET causes eye and skin irritations and reactions, and in rare cases, is associated with seizures, according to the National Pesticide Information Center. The American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents not to use DEET products on children younger than 2 months and to apply the products a maximum of once a day to children older than 2 months.

About Joseph M. Symond
Joseph is a mosquito expert and is the creator of Bug Bam. Australian entrepreneur and avid outdoorsman Joseph M. Symond developed the Bug Bam range of products as a result of his own frustrating encounters with mosquitoes while enjoying the great outdoors. Symond began creating natural remedies for mosquitoes back in 1998, and, seeing a broader need for a natural, chemical-free eco-friendly mosquito repellent, he developed the DEET-free food-grade Bug Bam bracelet in 2004. Symond, who lectures and speaks publically on the dangers of mosquito exposure, has expanded Bug Bam's range of products to include the Bug Bam Camp Grid and Bug Bam pet-collar. Symond's commitment to developing socially responsible products has its roots in a near-fatal attack he suffered age 14 by a Blue-Ringed Octopus, for which there is no anti-venom.

For more information, visit www.bugbam.com.


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