Although many residents of the southeastern US are accustomed to seeing the unwelcome critters year-round, mosquito season typically begins between February and April. The National Weather Service predicts an average or above-average mosquito population in the southeast for 2019, based on the rain outlook for the summer. Aside from the common skin irritation caused by an insect bite, there are signs of dangerous mosquito-borne illnesses that can raise a greater concern. Now is the time to learn how to prevent mosquito bites and what symptoms you should look out for.
Diseases Carried by Mosquitoes
There are many diseases carried by mosquitoes, some of which can be prevented by vaccines. These include Japanese encephalitis, Dengue Fever, and Yellow Fever. More prevalent mosquito-borne illnesses in the United States include West Niles Virus and Zika Virus. The symptoms of these are listed below –
West Nile Virus
Fever | Diarrhea | Stiff Neck | Swollen lymph nodes | Muscle weakness
Fever | Skin rashes | Headache | Joint Pain
It is important to note that most mosquito bites will not cause severe illness. However, please consult with your physician about preventative measures you should take if you will be traveling to an area where rates of mosquito-borne diseases are higher than in America.
How can you reduce your risk of bites?
· Apply sunscreen FIRST, mosquito repellent SECOND.
Look for these ingredients in your insect repellent: DEET, Icaridin, and oil of lemon eucalyptus. Don’t forget to re-apply every few hours! Also be sure to read the label directions and warnings before using on children.
· If preparing to be outdoors for an extended period of time, wear mosquito resistant gear and clothing.
Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors, so wearing lighter ones like white and khaki is a simple way to prevent bites. You may even be able to find clothing already treated with permethrin.
· Prevent water collection outside your home.
Change the water in birdbaths regularly. Empty your children’s small pools and water tables at least once a week. Empty outdoor flower pots prone to excess water collection. Unclog roof gutters.
· Avoid outdoor activities when mosquitoes are most active, before dawn and after dusk.
· Carry an antihistamine if you tend to have more severe reactions to mosquito bites.
When to see a doctor?
Common symptoms for mosquito-borne illnesses can include pain, fever, skin rashes, red eyes, and headache. Children are more likely to develop a severe reaction than adults, as many adults have had mosquito bites throughout their lives and their bodies have built immunity. If you think you might be infected, see a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment. Since bites tend to happen when outdoors over the weekend or in the evenings when most medical clinics are closed, you can feel confident in knowing our providers at The Virtual Doc are here for you whenever you need them!
The content on this website is made available for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. To get a medical diagnosis of your condition, connect with a The Virtual Doc Professional Group physician or your doctor.