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Tips for protecting against West Nile Virus

PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H. -- People of all ages can be infected with West Nile virus. Residents are urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites as the threat of the virus rises throughout the United States.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. While the West Nile virus can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk of developing severe disease.

Simple and effective precaution can be utilized to help decrease the risk of mosquito bites. Practice the 5 D's.

DEET: Apply insect repellent when outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus (p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)) or IR3535, according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30 percent or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.

DUSK AND DAWN: Be aware of peak mosquito hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning.

DRESS: Wearing long sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from the skin and help reduce mosquito bites

DRAIN: Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around a home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools and change water in birdbaths frequently.

These simple steps in addition to mosquito proofing your home by installing or repairing screens will reduce you and your family's risk of exposure.

For more information, visit the New Hampshire Department of Health website at www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/ or the Centers for Disease Control's traveler's health page on www.cdc.gov.

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