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Protect Yourself Against Mosquito Borne Illnesses This Summer

     We all know that with summer comes bug bites, mainly mosquito bites. While these bites may seem harmless, it is important to understand that some carry illnesses that could make you extremely sick. This summer, Virginia Medical Acute Care (VMAC) urges people to protect themselves against mosquito borne illnesses. With predictions of an active mosquito season by Health Departments nationwide, VMAC offers helpful tips in helping residents remain safe and protect themselves against mosquito bites.

Mosquitoes and Disease

Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is very rare but serious. Mosquitos that are infected with the EEE virus can infect people, horses and other mammals, some birds, reptiles and amphibians. About 5-10 EEE human cases are reported each year in the U.S. The risk of developing EEE is highest from July through September, and those who are at a greater risk of developing this disease are those over 50 years of age and younger than 15 years of age.

Additionally, mosquitos can also carry the West Nile virus, which is also transmitted to humans and some animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. West Nile virus was first found in New York State in 1999 with 490 human cases and 37 deaths of WNV being reported in 2000. Most people who are infected with EEE or WNV do not develop any signs or symptoms. If illness develops, symptoms usually occur 3-15 days after the bite from an infected mosquito.

Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites

VMAC reminds residents of their community that there are a number of things they can do to help avoid mosquito bites and control the number of mosquitoes in and around homes. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following tips this summer:

* When possible, wear long sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors.
* Consider staying indoors at dawn, dusk and in the early evening, which are peak mosquito biting times.
* Use an insect repellent containing DEET to help reduce exposure to mosquitoes.
* Spray clothes with repellent containing permethrin or DEET for extra protection. (Don't apply repellents containing permethrin directly to skin. Do not spray repellent containing DEET on the skin under your clothing.)
* Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing during evening and early morning, or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.
* Place mosquito netting over infant carriers when you are outdoors.
* Install or repair window and door screens so that mosquitoes cannot get indoors.
* At least once or twice a week, empty water from flower pots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, and cans.
* Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by getting rid of items that hold water, such as old tires, tin cans, buckets, drums, or bottles.
* Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out.
* Be sure to check for containers or trash in places that may be hard to see, such as under brushes or under your home.
* Neighborhood cleanup days can be organized by civic or youth organizations to pick up containers from vacant lots and parks, and to encourage people to keep their yards free of standing water.

If you are bitten by a mosquito and have an allergic reaction, VMAC urges you to seek medical assistance immediately. If the area becomes inflamed, red and itchy, it is a good idea to come in and have it checked out. Odds are its nothing serious, but it is better to remain on the side of safety. Visit VMAC for more information on mosquitos and to learn how to protect yourself this summer season.

Article Source:

Dr. Mark Davis, Springfield, VA doctors, became one of the countrys first board certified specialists in Emergency Medicine in 1983. He opened Virginia Medical Acute Care (VMAC), doctors in Springfield, VA, out of his mission to take a general medicine walk-in clinic, and develop a place where the community could receive non-critical urgent and emergency care.

Posted on 2013-07-12, By: *

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Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author.

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