West Nile virus is a very serious, but rare illness that you can protect your child from. Be wary of it anywhere that mosquitos are present.
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito who has acquired the virus from a bird. The virus is rare and cannot be spread through human contact except from a mother to her unborn baby. West Nile virus can be fatal; however, most people infected will only get mild flu-like symptoms. Less than one percent of infected people will exhibit the most serious symptoms, such as encephalitis, a brain inflation that can be fatal. Other symptoms in severe cases of West Nile include headaches, high fevers, stiff neck, tremors, convulsions, and paralysis.
There are several things you can do to protect your child from contracting West Nile virus:
  • Keep your child inside at the times that mosquitoes are most active
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET and make sure that the label states it is safe to use on children
  • Dress your child in protective clothing or, if they are still young enough to be in a stroller, use a mosquito net
  • Keep your home free from mosquitoes by installing screens on windows and doors
  • Make sure there is no standing water around your home. Clean out gutters and empty all containers that will hold water
  • Make sure your child does not touch dead birds (known to carry the virus)



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