Public Health: Keep your family safe and healthy this summer

Laurel Riek

While we love the summers here in Montana, the soaring temperatures create unique challenges to staying healthy. Let’s look at a few concerns the end of summer can bring.

West Nile Virus

The end of summer marks the perfect time to think about preventing mosquito bites and West Nile Virus (WNV). Most Montana cases of WNV occur in late August and early September. WNV is transmitted to humans through the bite of a mosquito. Most of those infected will not become ill. However, one in five individuals infected with WNV develops a fever and other symptoms such as headache, eye pain, muscle aches, joint pain, rash on the trunk, or swollen lymph nodes. About one in 150 people develop a severe illness affecting the central nervous system, such as encephalitis or meningitis.

You can reduce your family’s risk by preventing mosquito bites by wearing protective clothing and using insect repellent. You can also control mosquito populations by removing standing water around your home. Do not forget to put fresh water in bird baths and pet water bowls.

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