Diseases from Mosquitos
Encephalitis is a severe inflammation of the central nervous system structures such as the brain and spinal cord. Unless rapidly diagnosed and treated, encephalitis can result in severe permanent neurological damage, multiple organ failure and death.
There are several types of viral encephalitis that can be transmitted by different mosquito species: West Nile Encephalitis, Saint Louis Encephalitis, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Malaria and Dengue. Symptoms of West Nile virus may include headache, fever, fatigue, dizziness, weakness and confusion.
Mosquito bites can also spread the Zika virus, which can cause severe birth defects such as microcephaly. Symptoms of the Zika virus include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, headaches, and joint and muscle pain.
Please contact your physician immediately if you, your child or any family members have encephalitis or Zika virus.
How to Prevent Mosquito Bites
The best way to maintain optimal health is by practicing PREVENTION.
Here are the 5 “D”s and 1 “S” tips that will help you avoid mosquito-borne illnesses:
- Dusk and Dawn - Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are seeking blood, for many species this is during the dusk and dawn hours.
- Dress - Wear clothing that covers skin, made of cotton or any other light materials. Long pants and long sleeved shirts are recommended
- DEET - When the potential exists for exposure to mosquitoes, repellents containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, or N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) are recommended. Products with concentrations up to 30% DEET are generally recommended for most situations. (It is not recommended to use DEET on children less than 2 months old. Instead, infants should be kept indoors or mosquito netting used over carriers when mosquitoes are present). If additional protection is necessary, apply a permethrin repellent directly to your clothing. Always read the manufacturer's directions carefully before you put on a repellent, and do not apply more times than recommended.
- Drainage - Check your home to rid it of standing water in which mosquitoes can lay their eggs and larvae can grow.
- Screens - Make sure that windows remain closed or are sealed completely by screens at night.
Encourage children to play outdoors in breezy areas avoiding peak hours for mosquitoes. Be creative. Provide fun and creative play alternatives for children to stay indoors during rainy days.
Preventing diseases from mosquitoes can start with eliminating breeding sites::
- Clean out eaves, troughs and gutters.
- Remove old tires or drill holes in those used in playgrounds to drain.
- Turn over or remove empty plastic pots.
- Pick up all beverage containers and cups.
- Check tarps on boats or other equipment that may collect water.
- Pump out bilges on boats.
- Replace water in birdbaths and pet or other animal feeding dishes at least once a week.
- Change water in plant trays, including hanging plants, at least once a week.
- Remove vegetation or obstructions in drainage ditches that prevent the flow of water.