Before you can even mutter the phrase, “Spring is here,” it shows up in your backyard and brings all of its little insect friends with it. With those insects come problems – most notably mosquito transmitted diseases. The best thing to do when the risk of infection is present, is to educate yourself on the different kinds of infections, their symptoms and how you can avoid them.
Below are three of the most common viruses transmitted through mosquitos and the threats that each of them pose, according to the Center of Disease Control.
This disease originates in the tropics and subtropics in South America and Africa. If you plan to travel to these regions, it is recommended that anyone over nine months of age get vaccinated to prevent infection. Symptoms of Yellow Fever include sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, back pain, nausea or vomiting. There is no treatment for this other than to rest during the incubation period, which is 3-6 days.
The Zika Virus has become more talked about since the large number of cases found in Brazil last year. The biggest concern posed by Zika is for women who are pregnant at the time of infection. Several cases of Microcephaly in newborns have been linked to the mother having been infected during the time of pregnancy. Symptoms of the Zika Virus are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes). There is no vaccine or treatment for this disease, and it is important to know that the virus stays in your blood for up to one week after infection.
West Nile Virus
West Nile originates in areas of Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The symptoms you should look for are fever, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph nodes. Fortunately, most people infected with West Nile will have no symptoms and only 1 in 5 will develop a fever.
The best way to prevent any of these is to avoid mosquito bites. You can do this by wearing long sleeves or pants and by using bug spray. Taking these simple steps will make enjoying your outdoor festivities a whole lot easier.