McHenry County Department of Health - Environmental Health
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Protect Yourself and Your Home from West Nile Virus

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MosquitoFight the Bite! Protect yourself from mosquitoes while enjoying the outdoors.

Reduce your risk of West Nile virus by following these simple guidelines:

  • Wear shoes, socks, long-sleeved shirts & pants when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitoes are most active (dawn & dusk).
  • When possible, avoid the outdoors during peak biting times (dawn & dusk).
  • Spray clothing with insect repellent. 
  • Apply insect repellent sparingly to exposed skin. Follow label directions. 
  • Look for EPA labeled products containing
    • DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide)
    • Picaridin (KBR 3023)  
    • Oil of lemon eucalyptus
    • IR3535
  • Some experts recommend lower concentrations for children. 
  • Check with your doctor before applying insect repellent on infants.
  • Wash your hands after using insect repellent.
  • Eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites in your yard.
The National Pesticide Information Center offers a toll free number 1.800.858.7378 to answer questions regarding pest control or visit their website

Mosquito Repellent Update

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of products containing active ingredients which have been registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use as repellents applied to skin and clothing.  EPA registration of repellent active ingredients indicates the materials have been reviewed and approved for efficacy and human safety when applied according to the instruction on the label.

The CDC has identified several EPA registered products that provide repellent activity sufficient to help people avoid the bites of disease carrying mosquitoes.  Products containing these active ingredients typically provide reasonable long-lasting protection:
  • DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide or N,N-diethyl-3-methyl-benzamide)
  • Picaridin (KBR 3023)
  • Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or PMD the synthesized version of oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • IR3535 (3-N-Butyl-N-acetyl-aminopropionic acid, ethyl ester)
The EPA characterizes the active ingredients DEET and Picaridin as “conventional repellents” and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or PMD, and IR3535 as “biopesticide repellents”, which are derived from natural materials. More information on repellent active ingredients.

Protect Your Home from West Nile Virus

Mosquito eggs can develop in any standing water that lasts more than 5 to 7 days.  To reduce the mosquito population around your home, eliminate all standing water and debris.

  • Turn over children's wading pools and toys when not in use
  • Drill holes in the bottom of recycling and trash containers that are left outdoors
  • Change water in bird baths twice a week
  • Fix leaky faucets; they provide water where mosquitos can breed
  • Drill holes in window boxes and flower planters to prevent water from pooling
  • Do not rake leaves or other yard debris into the gutter or storm drain
  • Cover window wells/keep free of debris
  • Keep roof gutters free of leaves and debris
  • Aerate ornamental ponds or stock with mosquito eating fish
  • Keep pools clean and chlorinated
  • Repair door and window screens so they are intact and tight fitting
  • Discard old tires
  • Eliminate standing water on your property

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