With all this beautiful weather, there couldn’t be a better time than now to get outdoors for a walk, pedaling on that bike or getting down and dirty in the garden. And while the temperatures have been user-friendly, there are some not-so-friendly critters still out there — mosquitoes.
Besides the itching and the resulting red bump(s), the skeeters’ itty-bitty bite can result in the West Nile virus.
Unfortunately, Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties seem to have become the Texas hot zones for the pesky, disease-bearing critters. Dallas County alone has had 15 West Nile cases with five resulting in death.
While area services have been spraying neighborhoods nightly to kill the flying buzzards, the Dallas County Health and Human Services reminds residents that they can help reduce the chance of getting West Nile by applying the 4Ds:
- DEET -All Day, Every Day: Whenever outside, use FDA-approved insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin or lemon-eucalyptus oil.
- Dress: Wear long, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing when going outdoors.
- Drain: All areas of standing water in or around your home where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.
- Dawn, day and dusk: Limit your time outside as mosquitoes will bite at any time – day or night.
And what symptoms should alert you to possibly having West Nile? According to DCHHS,
- Approximately 80% “will not show any symptoms and will not know they have it.”
- West Nile fever — 20% will “display mild flu-like symptoms, including headache and body aches, nausea, vomiting, as well as swollen lymph glands, or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms typically last a few days.”
- West Nile Encephalitis/West Nile Meningitis/West Nile Meningoencephalitis — “About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness resulting in headache as well as neck stiffness, confusion and high fever. These symptoms may last several weeks or even months. The neurological effects may be permanent.”