Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How can I protect myself?
There is no human vaccine for West Nile virus. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to avoid mosquito bites and reduce the places mosquito live and breed around your home. Take these steps:
Avoid: Fight the bite
- Install or repair window screens and doors to keep out mosquitoes.
- Make sure doors and windows fit tightly (bug proof).
- Stay indoors at dawn and dusk, if possible, when mosquitoes are the most active.
- Wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants, and a hat when going into mosquito-infested areas, such as wetlands or woods.
- Use mosquito repellent (see below) when necessary. Read the label and carefully follow instructions. Take special care when using repellent on children.
Reduce: Clean up mosquito breeding sites around your home
- Empty anything that holds standing water-old tires, buckets, plastic covers, over flow trays under house or outdoor lanai plants.
- Make systematic and thorough inspection around your home looking for possible breeding sites for mosquitoes (hollow bamboo, uncapped hollow tile walls, uncapped fence pipes.
- Change water in your birdbaths, fountains, wading pools and animal troughs at least twice week.
- Recycle unused containers that may collect water-bottles, cans, and buckets.
- Clean clogged gutters so that they drain properly at least 2 times a year or as needed.
- Fix leaky outdoor faucets and sprinklers. Mosquitoes seek out small amounts of stagnant water to multiply. During drought conditions you have shrinking areas of water that may be as small as a leaky faucet that provide just enough water for the mosquito to lay eggs and multiply.
- Hose out plants that hold pockets of water, like bromeliads, once a week.
- Use mosquito-eating fish, such as guppies, in fish ponds, water gardens, unused swimming pools, or other large containers that cannot be removed or emptied. You can get these fish from the Vector Control Branch, Hawaii Department of Health .
Remember: Hotter weather shortens the life cycle of the mosquito, leading to faster breeding and more mosquitoes.
What is an effective mosquito repellent?
The most effective mosquito repellents contain the active ingredients DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), Picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus offering long-lasting protection against mosquito bites. These products come in lotions, creams, gels, sprays, and towelettes.
Mosquito repellents must be used properly. Read and follow instructions on the label. Do not over use repellents.
Learn more on the safe use of mosquito repellent from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).