Summertime means most of us will spend more time outdoors, but this means we must share our space with mosquitoes. Of the 3,000 species of mosquitoes in the world, roughly 200 can be found in the USA.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mosquitos have been labeled the most dangerous animal in the world since estimates hold mosquitos responsible for hundreds of millions of malaria cases each year, as well as transmitting West Nile virus, yellow fever and the more notable Zika virus.
We are told by health professionals and monitoring agencies that the Zika virus is primarily spread to people through the bite of an insect, the Aedes aegypti mosquito to be more specific. Additionally, there have been some cases where Zika has been spread through having sexual relations with an infected male. Men and women who have traveled to Zika hot spots should consider condom use during pregnancy if the man has been exposed.
The most common symptoms of the Zika virus disease are:
- Joint pain
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
The CDC goes on to state that the Zika virus is usually mild with symptoms that last from several days to one week, but with Zika being linked to birth defects in women infected during pregnancy, the CDC recommends the following measures to protect you against being bitten:
- Repellents – When used as directed, insect repellents are the best way to protect yourself and family from getting mosquito bites. The higher percentages of active ingredients provide longer lasting protection.
- Cover up – When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.
- Keep mosquitoes outside – Use air conditioning or make sure that you repair and use window/door screens
- Protect yourself when traveling – learn about the country-specific travel advice, health risks and how to stay safe.
Since specific areas where Zika is spreading, and most prevalent, are often difficult to determine and are likely to change over time, please visit the CDC Travelers’ Health Site for the most updated information at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-travel-information
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.