A health concern involving mosquitoes we’ve been hearing a lot about lately is the Zika Virus. But, we don’t want to forget about another potentially dangerous disease these pesky insects can carry – the West Nile Virus. It’s important that we keep alert to this virus as it can potentially have some serious effects on our health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the good news is that only about 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever and other symptoms, and less than 1% of infected people will develop a serious case. But that shouldn’t make us less diligent. There currently is no vaccine for West Nile. After getting bitten, if symptoms arise, they usually develop within 2 to 6 days, but that can extend to 14 days.
West Nile Virus Symptoms
The majority of people that have been bitten (70%-80%) will not experience any symptoms at all and never know they had it. But for those that fall into the category of feeling the effects of the contaminated sting, they possibly will have a fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Recovery is usually reasonably quick, but they will still experience fatigue or weakness for weeks, or even months. The illness can occur at any age, but people over 60 or those with chronic medical conditions are at greatest risk.
There are, at the present time, no medications to treat the disease other than pain relievers. If, however, the patient does develop the more serious case of West Nile, (statistically less than 1%) hospitalization and monitoring would be required.
Prevention of West Nile Virus
We might ask then, given these facts, what we ourselves can do to help ourselves and our family to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, and taking the chance of it being a West Nile infected mosquito.
These steps include using insect repellants when going outside, Repellants containing DEET are the best to fight all mosquito-borne illnesses. We are also urged to wear long sleeves and pants dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. Also, install and repair screens on windows and doors. Empty standing water from containers such as flower pots, pet water dishes, etc. These are good tips that we can do to protect ourselves.
If you do get a mosquito bite and suspect you might have been exposed to West Nile, consult a physician immediately.
West Nile has been documented all over the world, including Canada, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, parts of Asia, and Australia.
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We hope your travels are free of illness, but if you travel to any of these areas and develop symptoms of West Nile, or need help with any other illness or injury, we can be there to help get you back home to treatment. Our air ambulance service is fully equipped to treat you while in the air. Call us at (888) 632-5560 or simply click here. We are there for you when you need us!
photo credit: thatSandygirl Mosquito on my Palm - Macro via photopin (license)