Natural Approaches to West Nile Virus
The recent rise of West Nile Virus has raised concerns about ways to prevent the spread the virus. West Nile Virus can become a severe illness in a very small percent of the population. The majority of us have nothing to worry about. The best defense against West Nile Virus is controlling mosquito populations in your neighborhood and ensuring your immune system is functioning at full capacity.
Please note: West Nile Virus is a very serious illness. Anyone with symptoms should seek immediate medical attention. The information in this post is shared for educational purposes only. The information in this post has not been reviewed by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness. It is also not intended to replace the medical advice received from your physician.
Facts About West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus is reported to be a virus that is typically found in birds. The virus spreads to humans when a mosquito stings an infected bird and then stings a human. Although the virus is listed as a “severe illness” by the CDC and mainstream media, the fact is that less than 1% of those who are bitten by an infected mosquito develop severe symptoms. Children are reported to be the least likely to be infected. The population most at risk are adults over 50 who have pre-existing conditions which compromise their immunity.
Per the CDC, “No reliable estimates are available for the number of cases of West Nile encephalitis that occur worldwide.” The CDC also acknowledges that there is a broad variance in the data reported about the prevalence of West Nile Virus in areas where it is tracked. This raises questions about whether or not many cases listed as West Nile Virus truly are. Many people believe the severity and frequency of the virus are being exaggerated to support the spraying of dangerous chemicals. I encourage everyone research and draw your own conclusions. I also encourage you to take measures to protect yourself from the sprayed chemicals, as most of the insecticides being sprayed are known carcinogens and/or are known to impair liver and endocrine function.
Good News About West Nile Virus
It is important to note the following very positive facts about West Nile Virus:
- Most people bitten by an infected mosquito never notice any symptoms. Their body very naturally combats the virus and they never contract a full-blown case.
- A smaller number of people, typically those with slightly weaker immune systems, experience very mild flu symptoms. These symptoms include headache, sore joints, mild fever, etc.
- Less than 1% of people – typically those with extremely compromised immunity – experience the most severe symptoms of West Nile Virus. These symptoms are very similar to those of encephalitis and include brain inflammation with headache, fever, muscle weakness, stiffness, confusion and sometimes convulsions. Only 5% of the one percent that may contract these severe symptoms experience long-term complications or death from the virus. (This equates to 0.05% of those infected.)
Protective Measures Against West Nile Virus
The most obvious way to protect yourself and your loved ones from West Nile Virus is to ensure there is no standing water in or near your home. The most common carrier of West Nile Virus, female Culex mosquitoes, typically do not travel more than 440 yards (one quarter mile) from where they hatch. Although they may travel further, your best defense is to focus on controlling stagnant water in your neighborhood. If you have a water source you cannot eliminate, I recommend using Bt bacteria (Bacillus thuringiensis), a non-chemical insecticide. This insecticide is used heavily in third world countries and has no known harmful effects to humans and other mammals even in very high doses. Most garden supply stores carry it.
The other option for reducing your risk of serious infection is to ensure your immune system is working at full capacity. The most effective way to boost immunity is to limit sugar and to eat a clean diet consisting of organic whole foods and no artificial food additives. Drinking adequate water, getting plenty of sleep and engaging in exercise are also known methods of improving immunity. If you wish to take a supplement to boost immunity, I recommend the following three for adults. Dosages must be adjusted for children:
- Vitamin D3: 2000-5000IU/day
- Vitamin C: 500-5000mg/day
- Olive Leaf Extract: Follow dosage instructions on bottle, as extract strengths can vary
The final option for protection is to use insecticidal sprays. The CDC has acknowledged that the essential oil Lemon Eucalyptus is equally effective as DEET when applied frequently. I recommend using natural sprays for protection, but you must realize these sprays must be applied more frequently to be effective. Very simple spray-on protection can be made using the recipe that follows:
Natural Mosquito Repellent Recipe
- 1 oz Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil
- 1 oz Lavender essential oil
- 1 oz Lemongrass essential oil
- 1 oz organic soybean oil
- 16 oz alcohol (100% vodka, Everclear, etc.)
Blend all ingredients well and allow to “meld” for at least 48 hours. To use, shake well and spray onto skin and clothing. Re-apply frequently. Avoid spraying into eyes or mouth.
Other home remedies that can help include eating lots of garlic and taking Vitamin B1 on a daily basis. For maximum protection, dress in long sleeves and pants and avoid going out at dawn and dusk.
What are your favorite mosquito repellents? What are your thoughts on media coverage of West Nile Virus? (Let’s keep comments positive, please.) I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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