Protecting yourself from mosquito-borne illnesses this summer

Health

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – Mosquitoes are a nuisance, and they can carry a range of diseases, like West Nile Virus.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said West Nile was detected in mosquitoes collected in Boston on July 3.

There have been no human or animal cases of the virus in this state so far this year, but last year, there were 49 confirmed cases of West Nile virus which is the most ever in a single year in Massachusetts.

“Getting bit by bugs is something we are all familiar with in the New England area and try to be aware of,” Joseph Dickerson of Hartford told 22News. “Whether it’s mosquitoes or ticks, you just try and be smart to keep those things away.”

If you’re bitten by an infected mosquito, there’s a chance you could get West Nile virus or another mosquito-borne illness.

“We make sure to put on bug spray and we keep our eyes open and always do a tick check when we are done,” David Kieval of Northampton told 22News.

There are no human vaccines for West Nile virus yet, so it’s up to you to defend yourself. Using the right bug spray can significantly lower your risk.

The DPH said the most effective mosquito repellents contain DEET or Lemon Eucalyptus, but you can also reduce your skin exposure by wearing long sleeves and pants.

Maintaining window screens and draining stagnant water sources are also some ways to help keep mosquitoes out of your home.

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