All Points Medical Waste Blog
The Dangers of Mosquitoes
What you need to know to keep your family & pets safe
If you’re like many other Americans, summer is the time of year when you and your family and friends like to get outside—whether it’s hitting the beach, swimming in the pool, barbecuing or hanging out in the yard. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that all of us need to be aware that mosquitoes are much more than just a pesky insect. Take a look:
Why are mosquitoes dangerous?
All of us can relate to getting bitten by mosquitoes and the annoying itch that comes along with it. But the fact is, the itch and even a small red bump on the skin is just one symptom of a mosquito bite and the least of many that can have an adverse effect on your health. Mosquitoes are dangerous because they act as hosts to various diseases and one bite can often be all it takes to transmit that disease to humans, dogs, cats, and horses. In fact, mosquitoes are responsible for more deaths than any other animal on the planet.
What diseases can mosquitoes carry?
Most of us have heard of some of the diseases that mosquitoes carry, several of them have been all over the news—here’s a list of the top ones:
- Zika Virus: Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, headache, rash, conjunctivitis
- Malaria: Symptoms include high fever, chills, profuse sweating, abdominal pain, nausea vomiting, coma, bloody stools
- Encephalitis- Symptoms include fatigue, headache, fever, confusion, aches in joints
- West Nile Virus- Symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, skin rash, body aches, headache, fever
- Dengue Fever – Symptoms include rash, fever, headache, body aches
- Chikungunya – Symptoms include headaches, fever, body aches, joint pain
- Yellow Fever– Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, pain in joints, headache, sensitivity to light
Which ones are common in the US?
Although many of these mosquito-borne diseases are more common outside the USA, there have been numerous cases of Zika, West Nile and Encephalitis reported in the country. The CDC reports that often the cases are a result of travelers returning to the states after being infected.
Vaccines have all but eliminated Yellow Fever in the United States, however, the World Health Organization says it’s still a problem in South America and Africa. In fact, there are about 200,000 cases reported each year—something to think about when you’re traveling abroad.
Malaria is also uncommon in the USA, but in Africa and other areas in the world, it is still a prominent threat. There are drugs available to combat malaria, but it’s best to be aware of the potential for exposure before you venture to affected areas.
Preventing exposure to diseases from mosquitoes
Although nothing is full proof, the best way to prevent diseases from mosquitoes is by safeguarding yourself, your family, your pets and your home against the pests. There are numerous products available that can help repel mosquitoes from your yard and the perimeter, including automatic spray systems. In addition, using plants like citronella, lavender and lemongrass around the patio, porch and in the yard can keep the bugs away.
When you’re out and about, wear light-colored clothing (mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors) and avoid standing water, mosquitoes are known to breed and swarm around water. Choose a repellent that contains the safest amount of DEET and spray exposed skin before heading out to play sports or to participate in any outdoor activities, especially during the hot summer months.
Summer is a favorite time of year for many people, make sure mosquitoes don’t ruin your outings and gatherings or cause anyone in your family to become ill by following the right steps to repel them.
All Points Medical Waste provides medical waste disposal services throughout the Treasure Coast and in Okeechobee, Palm Beach, and Broward Counties. For more useful information about health and medical related topics, visit our blog often.