West Nile in Oklahoma, Tips for Avoiding Mosquito Bites

The Oklahoma State Department of Health has issued a public warning for Oklahomans to take precautions when outdoors, as the height of the West Nile season nears.  So far, a total of 55 cases of West Nile virus have been identified in Oklahoma, with 14 of those in Tulsa County, the most of any county.

The greatest risk for infection with West Nile virus typically occurs from June through September, with cases peaking in mid-August. But changes in the weather, the number of infected mosquitoes and human behavior can all influence when and where outbreaks occur, the CDC said.

The best way to protect yourself from West Nile virus is to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes, which can pick up the disease from infected birds.

The CDC recommends the following steps to protect yourself:

•    Use insect repellents when outside.

•    Wear long sleeves and pants from dawn to dusk.

•    Don't leave standing water outside in open containers, such as flowerpots, buckets and kiddie pools.

•    Install or repair window and door screens.

•    Mow tall grass and eliminate weeds, breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Although most people with mild cases of West Nile virus will recover on their own, the CDC recommends that anyone who develops symptoms should see their doctor right away.