WEST NILE VIRUS ISSUES FOR SENIORSAug 25th, 2012 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness
Health Considerations for Seniors
The threat of West Nile Virus is of more concern for seniors than any other population group. Many experts have said that if you are over 70 and develop symptoms of WNV, go to the hospital immediately. Senior citizens have less ability to fight the disease, and immediate medical care is necessary to head off potential health issues from developing.
So, Seniors, if you live in a climate that includes mosquitoes in the summer, be sure to learn all you can about protecting yourself from mosquito bites, as well as things you can do to chase those little critters away. Using a good mosquito repellant when you are out doors is one of the best things you can do. There are many on the market, including some that repel mosquitoes but do not contain pesticides that can harm your body.
Suggestions for Environmental Management
There are some things you can do to protect yourself even further. This list includes using some natural repellants that some of us may not be aware of.
- For those seniors still living at home, the best first step is to eliminate standing water wherever you find it around your home or neighborhood. Mosquitoes breed in standing water and removing the opportunity will keep them from your neighborhood. Standing water collects in trash cans, barbeque grilles, discarded tires, bird baths (change this every few days if you have a bird bath), and any pots or pails that you leave outdoors. Keep your lawn mowed and cut down tall weeds. Bugs of all kinds hide in tall grass.
- Mosquitoes hate the smell of coffee (brewed), especially if it has been allowed to sit around for a while and get rancid. Save your coffee grounds, let them get really smelly for a couple of weeks and add them to standing water wherever you see it; this is for the puddles on the ground that you cannot eliminate. Be sure not to put it in water where you have fish or other aquatic life. You can use old smelly coffee as a spray on outdoor furniture and wherever you spend a lot of time outdoors.
- Marigolds are an old tried and true means for chasing off a lot of bugs and other pests.
- Some have tried to use dryer softener sheets for chasing bugs away. It never worked for me, but some friends use them regularly. Hang them outdoors, particularly around light fixtures that can help dissipate the aroma.
- Anything aromatic like sage or rosemary or garlic or lemongrass can help deter mosquitoes. If you have an outdoor fire pit or grill, you can put some of these spices on the fire and keep bugs at bay.
- Bats are great mosquito killers. They eat hundreds of mosquitoes every night. There is a lot of information on the Internet about inviting bats to your neighborhood. Check it out.