Mosquitoes are known to transmit certain diseases to humans including the West Nile virus. Back in 1999, the West Nile virus was first reported and has spread rapidly. Most cases are reported to occur in the summer season until fall.
Among those who are infected, the virus will cause a mild, flu-like illness. This is considered as a health issue due to the risk for acquiring a potentially deadly brain infection in some cases. Take note that the harshness of the virus is higher among those over 50 years old and those who have compromised immune systems. The West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes, thus reducing the risk of becoming infected is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
There are various ways in order to prevent mosquito bites that you should take into consideration in order to reduce the risk of acquiring this condition.
- When outdoors, it is recommended to use an insect repellant that contains DEET or natural oil of lemon eucalyptus on the skin as well as the clothing used. For children, the repellant used should not contain more than 10% formula.
- Try to cover up as much as possible when outdoors and use long-sleeved shirts and pants.
- Get rid of mosquito breeding areas by emptying sources of standing water, ensuring that fountain waters continue to flow and maintaining the cleanliness of the gutters on a regular basis.
- Do not handle dead birds with bare hands as a precautionary measure to prevent disease transmission.
- Stay indoors between sunset and sunrise when mosquitoes are active
- Repair or install screens on the windows and doors to prevent mosquitoes from entering the house.
Identification of mild and severe symptoms
Remember that individuals who become infected with the condition display symptoms that are mild. In most cases, the individual will experience headache, fever, aches and pain, fatigue and even swollen lymph nodes and skin rashes on the trunk of the body in some cases.
The symptoms typically last for a few days but some can linger for a few weeks in some individuals. The symptoms of a serious infection include high fever, headache, stupor, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, convulsions, tremors as well as paralysis and muscle weakness.
Symptoms of severe forms of the infection include West Nile encephalitis (brain inflammation), West Nile poliomyelitis (inflammation involving the spinal cord that leads to abrupt weakness or paralysis of the limbs or breathing muscles) and meningitis.
Always bear in mind that specific treatments are not yet available for the West Nile virus. With this in mind, prevention of mosquito bites is vital to avoid the condition.
Once an individual show any of the signs and symptoms of the West Nile virus after being outdoors or in areas infested with mosquitos, it is recommended to consult a doctor for proper assessment of the condition.