Media Release: How to avoid West Nile Virus

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Dayton Children’s offers tips on how to stay safe

09-01-2011 (Dayton, OH) -

Summer weather may be on the downfall, but the risk for the West Nile Virus is on the rise.  Labor Day picnics and family gatherings are fun, but the fear for a transported disease through a single mosquito can be rather frightening. In the state of Ohio, West Nile Virus positive mosquito pools have increased from 52 to 450 during the month of August.

“The number of incidences of West Nile varies from year to year and from area to area within the country and within a specific state,” says Sherman Alter, MD medical director of infectious disease at Dayton Children’s. “It is a function of children playing and being in an area where there are mosquitoes present and not taking the precautions necessary to prevent the bites.”

With the recent cases of West Nile in surrounding counties, Dayton Children’s offers some useful and informative tips for parents on how to keep you and your kids safe for a happy and healthy weekend.


  • Mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn. If you will be outside during this time, make sure to take necessary precautions.
  • Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes and socks when possible.  
  • Avoid wearing dark colors. Light colors are least attractive to mosquitoes.
  • Use insect repellent with DEET
  • Remove all discarded tires and other water‐holding containers, such as tin cans and unused flower pots from your property.
  • Avoid being near standing water. If you have standing water on your property, remove it.  
  • Keep your gutters clean and make sure that they are draining correctly.
  • Clean and chlorinate pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Keep them empty when not in use and drain water from pool covers.


An infection with WNV can be asymptomtic (no symptoms), but can lead to more serious cases such as, West Nile fever or a severe disease.  About 20 percent of those infected with West Nile Virus will later develop West Nile fever.  Symptoms never last just a few days and even the healthiest people can experience symptoms that last up to several weeks. 

Some of the symptoms to be on the lookout for include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Body aches
  • Possible skin rash
  • Swollen lymph glands

If a child contracts West Nile Virus and is not treated, it can cause major complications to their health. Four out of five people who are infected with West Nile Virus will not develop any illness; however, one in every 150 persons infected will develop a more severe disease

 “Most of the times, these children/adolescents experience headaches (severe at times), sensitivity to light, vomiting, decreased appetite and dehydration” says Dr. Alter.  “There may be serious problems also that range from confusion, irritability and lethargy to severe complications such as convulsions, paralysis, and coma necessitating intensive care.”


Because it is a virus, West Nile is unfortunately unable to be treated by an antibiotic, prescription, or any type of medication. Since there is no specific treatment that can kill the West Nile Virus, it is important to know what to do and how to treat you or your child’s symptoms if infected.  Make sure to get plenty of rest, drink ample water and fluids and take medication to ease the pain and reduce fever such as acetaminophen or aspirin.

If your child is still experiencing symptoms after a few weeks consult with your pediatrician or family doctor. In some cases hospitalization may occur for intensive supportive care.  If hospitalized, treatment may include:

  • IV fluids
  • Medication to ease nausea, vomiting, brain swelling, or seizures
  • Breathing support
  • Prevention of other possible infections like pneumonia or urinary tract infections
  • Excellent nursing care

For more information, contact:
Grace Rodney
Marketing Communications Specialist
Phone: 937-641-3666


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