West Nile virus shows up early; this will help you protect your family

(Photo: MGN Online)

(Photo: MGN Online)

DENVER — The battle against the West Nile Virus is in full force.  Crews will soon begin spraying for mosquitoes in several communities.

Five Colorado counties – including Adams, Boulder, and Weld – have insects testing positive for the virus.

Experts say we’re seeing more mosquitoes this season because of the increase in standing water. It’s camping season and many will be headed outdoors to enjoy all Colorado has to offer.

The key to staying safe begins with being prepared.

If you’re going to be outside, create a barrier between yourself and mosquitoes by always wearing repellant with Deet.  Many sporting goods stores now carry brands that can be applied to your clothing, instead of your skin.

Laura Lee Alemanni of Bass Pro Shops says treating your clothing offers lasting protection and adds, “You spray it on you let it dry it  lasts up to six to eight washes.”

There’s even a repellent made for fishing enthusiasts who spend time near standing water that won’t destroy sensitive equipment.

It’s also important to keep yourself protected by covering up.

Skip the shorts; instead, wear breathable pants and long sleeve shirts.   Some clothing even has built in repellent.

Tents must have screening.  Carefully check for tears and remember to always keep doors zipped shut.

Whether camping or just enjoying your own backyard, use a good standing repellant that covers a space of at least 15 feet. Mosquitoes are most likely near standing water so avoid ponds and empty anything around your yard that is collecting rainwater.

Experts say the safest thing to do is to keep your family indoors during the early morning and early evening hours.

See more information about guarding against the West Nile Virus here or at kidshealth.org.