NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will begin spraying for mosquitoes in several areas Wednesday morning, in an effort to keep the West Nile virus from spreading.
The department will use helicopters to spray larvicide to marshes and other non-residential areas of the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m., weather permitting.
Crews will spray each of the three days in the Staten Island neighborhoods of Arlington, Old Place, Howland Hook, Bloomfield, Chelsea, Travis, Fresh Kills, Richmond Town, and Port Mobile; the Queens neighborhoods of Linden Hill, College Point, Edgemere, and Somerville; and the Bronx neighborhoods of Pelham Bay and Park North.
"What will really help is whether we can effectively prevent mosquitoes from hatching and biting, and whether people take precautions to prevent them from biting them," department Deputy Commissioner for Environmental Health Dan Kass told WCBS 880's Monica Miller this past Sunday.
Kass said the public needs to do its part to prevent infection.
"Anywhere where there's standing water, we want people to get rid of it over the course of the summer," he said.
Most people who contract West Nile virus don't suffer any symptoms, but generally, people over the age of 50 are more susceptible to the flulike symptoms that can accompany the virus.
In most instances, mild cases of West Nile can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, fever, headaches, swollen glands and sore throats. In addition to older adults, children are also at high risk.
To reduce the risk of getting bitten by mosquitoes, the Health Department has previously advised using an insect repellent using picaridin, DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or products with the active ingredient IR3535. The department also advised making sure that windows have screens that are in good repair; that roof gutters are clean and draining properly; and that swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs are cleaned and chlorinated.
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