Living with West Nile |

Living with West Nile

If you don’t consider West Nile virus a serious threat, reconsider.

West Nile, a virus mosquitoes pass to humans, will make an appearance in the valley for the second straight year. Most experts consider the second year the worst.

Last year, more than 50 people died in Colorado from West Nile, and nearly 3,000 more contracted the virus.

Take the story of Tom Weber of Greeley, for an example. One of those pesky mosquitoes bit Weber last year, and he contracted the disease. He didn’t die, but came close to it. Once an athletic man, he spent almost eight months in the hospital, surviving encephalitis, meningitis and a heart attack, all brought on by West Nile virus. He couldn’t speak, couldn’t use his right arm and lost 60 pounds. He had to learn to live all over again.

If it sounds like a horror story, it is ” but a preventable one.

A few small tips can help prevent West Nile. Consider these from the state health department:

– Limit outside activity around dawn and dusk. This is particularly important for elderly adults and small children, who are more susceptible to the virus.

– Wear protective clothing such as lightweight, long pants and long-sleeve shirts when outside.

– Apply insect repellent to exposed skin when outside. Repellents with DEET are most effective.

If you heed these and the other tips, more than likely you’ll be safe from the deadly virus.

Something so simple can save you a world of hurt.

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