Expert Advice for Surviving Mosquito Season From ER Doctors
Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Texas, their Symptoms & Prevention Tips
Summer is in full swing in Texas, and we are sure you have lots of fun activities planned wot enjoy with your friends and family. No doubt most if not all your plans include time spent outdoors, whether it be hiking, swimming, relaxing in the sun, or enjoying a drink in your backyard with some great company, you are sure to encounter your fair share of mosquitoes.
Mosquito season in our area usually runs from April to November, but around this time of year is when we experience peak populations; and although all mosquitoes are a big nuisance that can make our lives miserable, the ones that should really concern us are those who are disease vectors or carriers.
Most Common Mosquito Species
- Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus Mosquitoes: Both mosquitoes can be carriers of diseases like Dengue Virus, Zika Virus, Chikungunya Virus, and Yellow Fever; however, the Aedes aegypti is more likely to infect humans because they prefer to live in urban areas and feed on humans rather than animals. The Aedes aegypti mosquito bites during the day and night.
- Culex Mosquito: These mosquitoes are widespread throughout the country which means they are also present in Texas. They are known carriers of the West Nile Virus and are most active during the hours of dusk and dawn.
Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Texas
Given the climate conditions in our state mosquitos can breed for most of the year, this has contributed to Texas being in the top 20% regarding people being infected by mosquito-borne diseases. Viruses transmitted by these insects can have serious health repercussions, and in some cases can even be fatal if not treated properly.
West Nile Virus:
Unlike other mosquito-borne viruses humans are not the principal reservoirs of the disease, birds are. Mosquitoes become vectors by feeding on infected birds, and they can then transfer the virus to humans when they feed off us. A total of 370 cases of West Nile Virus were reported in 2018, out of these 18 patients died according to the latest report by the CDC. Two forms of the virus can affect humans:
West Nile Fever (WNF)
The More benign form of the virus, its symptoms include:
- A headache
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Abdominal and Back Pain
- Achy Muscles
- Skin Rash on the Arms, Chest, and Back
West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease
A much more severe form of the virus, it affects the nervous system, it requires prompt medical attention, and it can be fatal. Early symptoms are the same as those of the West Nile Fever but do not include the rash. A few days after displaying signs the patient can develop one or more of the following conditions:
- Weakness of Muscle Paralysis (usually on one side of the body)
- Inflammation of the Lining of the Retina
If you suspect you have been infected with West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease, rush to Prestige ER to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible to minimize the risk of permanent neurological damage or death.
Mosquitoes are not the only ones who can spread this virus, infected humans can spread it through sexual contact, blood transfusions, mother to unborn child, and during birth.
Symptoms are mild, and some patients never develop them; however, pregnant women infected during their first trimester run the risk of their babies being born with microcephaly a medical condition where a baby’s head is oddly small because their brains did not develop properly.
How to Survive Mosquito Season
Although mosquitoes can be at the very least a nuisance, they should not be reason enough for you to cancel your summer plans, by following these simple tips you can avoid those pesky bugs and enjoy yourself as planned.
- Stay indoors at peak times
- Look for cooler environments
- Wear lighter colored clothing, mosquitoes are attracted to dark clothing
- Drain any standing water in or around your house
- Put the lid on your trash can and turn any container that may collect water
- Mosquitoes are fans of potassium-rich foods, try to avoid having bananas and avocados out in the open
- Don’t use perfume when outdoors, mosquitoes are attracted to sweet smells.
- Ceiling fans help push mosquitoes away as the wind makes it hard for them to navigate
- Fit screens on all windows and doors
- Babies should sleep under a mosquito net
- Wear EPA approved insect repellent whenever you plan to be outside, apply to your clothing as well as skin.
At Prestige ER we want nothing more than for you to enjoy your summer, our expert advice will serve to reduce your risk of getting a mosquito-borne disease, but if you do, remember, we are here to treat you and help you get healthy again.
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