West Nile Virus Outbreak Worst Yet for US

August 24, 2012 drdarria 0 Comments

As you have may have heard on the news, the CDC is warning that the upcoming few weeks could bring the highest incidence of West Nile Virus that we’ve ever seen in the US–to date, there have been over 1,100 cases and 41 deaths–three times higher than we usually see.  I even did a segment on FoxNews about this.   So, with that in mind, read below for important information to protect you and your family.

  • The disease can be deadly, but the deadly form is very rare.  People over the age of 50 or those with chronic medical conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease are at higher risk of having the severe disease.
  • Most people will have symptoms like the flu which they can take care of at home.  But if you develop more severe symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, confusion, or weakness/lethargy, you need to seek medical care immediately.
  • West Nile has been found in 47 states–from Massachusetts to Texas, California, and Michigan.
  • Since there is no “cure” or specific treatment for the disease, PREVENTION is key.  Try not to get bitten in the first place! If you’re someone like me– who seems to attract every mosquito in the surrounding 3 zip codes– then make sure to use the following guidelines.
    • Use repellant any time you’re outdoors (I know, I know, it may smell funny and you always forget, but keep it by your outside door and make it a habit!)
      • Don’t spray directly onto face—spray onto hands then apply to face; don’t spray onto kids hands (they’ll likely just put those hands into their mouth or eyes)
      • Wash skin after returning indoors
      • DEET is one of the primary repellant forms.
        • dont use on children less than 2 months, and in children over 2months, use 30% or less (you can use higher on adults)
      • Picaridin: another form of repellant that does not have as bad of an odor as DEET and is less greasy, and will not damage cloth/plastics, so you can use on your clothing and equipment without damage.  It may not have as long-lasting of an effect as DEET
    • Wear long-sleeved light clothing if you’re outdoors
    • Remove standing water around your home
    • Make sure the screens in your doors/windows are intact or repaired

With some smart prevention, you can enjoy the remaining great weather of summer and early fall while also keeping you and your family safe.

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