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The heavy spring rains are expected to create more mosquitos than usual this season, so it is important for everyone to do their part to help prevent West Nile virus.

People become infected by being bitten by a mosquito that is infected. The best way to avoid West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites, according to Tarrant County Public Health.

There is no human vaccine for West Nile virus, but you can take steps to protect yourself, your family and our community from the illness. Remember, people with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease are also at greater risk for serious illness.

†††††††† Drain and/or Dump standing water on your property. Mosquitos like to breed in standing water that has been collected in items such as empty cans, tires, plant pots, buckets and clogged rain gutters. Be sure to change the water in your petís dishes and keep wading pools empty and on their sides when youíre not using them.

†††††††† Use insect repellent when you are outdoors. The Texas Department Of State Health Services says that approved repellents include those that contain DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. You can also spray your sleeves, pants and socks with repellent.

†††††††† Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts from dusk to dawn when you are outdoors. That is the time period when mosquitos are most active. Consider staying indoors (check for tears in your screen doors so mosquitos donít get inside).

Did you know that most people who get infected with West Nile virus donít have any symptoms?

Some people develop a mild illness, with a fever and symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash.

A small number of people Ė fewer than 1 percent - will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues). These symptoms can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis.

Here is more information about bug safety from the American Academy of Pediatrics.††

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