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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Living at Mosquito Junction

Itch/scratch, itch/scratch...everyday I find new places on my body where the mosquitoes have taken a bit of my DNA.  There are always hoards of these pests in the summer/fall in eastern North Carolina, but the past few weeks have been much worse than usual.  Likely, that is because of hurricane Irene's recent passage and the standing water in her wake.  As I scratched, I began to worry about the chances of getting West Nile Virus (WNV)...seems like it is always more of a problem after tropical systems move through.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) noticed that the cases of WNV doubled after hurricane Katrina hit, and they highly recommend that communities spend some time and money spraying.  And the CDC definitely recommends that people liberally and regularly use insect repellent when working or playing outdoors.  They give DEET and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (sounds intriguing) as examples of safe and effective ingredients to look for in the products available.

So why bother to be aggressive at fighting the mosquito attack?  The answer is that WNV can be deadly.  Older people are more vulnerable to the severe manifestation of WNV, which affects only about 1 out of every 150 infected people.  Most people have NO symptoms at all (80%) and up to 20% have minor, flu-like symptoms including fever, aches, nausea and a rash.  It can take a couple of weeks after an encounter with an infected mosquito before noticing any symptoms, and there really isn't any treatment other than supportive care for the symptoms!  Bummer...

So prevention, as usual, is always best....spray on!

Women's Health Hub

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