Not only has half of North Texas returned to these parts after the lengthy 4th of July holiday, but a pesky problem has arrived, too. Thanks to the off-and-on rain, mosquitos are taking over the area with an appetite. Even the 100°-temperatures aren’t hampering their invasion.
In addition to leaving an itchy spot or two or a dozen on the skin, their “bite” can result in West Nile, dengue and Zika.
And this year’s crop is especially daunting. Texas A&M has already reported four cases of malaria in Florida and one in Texas. Those are “the first cases of malaria to originate inside the U.S. since 2003.”
So, what’s so terrible about such things as West Nile, dengue, and Zika malaria? Ask anyone who’s had it and they’ll tell you about the fever, chills and flu-like symptoms. But it depends on the type of malaria, where the person was infected, their age, whether they were pregnant and how sick they were at the start of treatment. And, yes, it is treatable, but do you seriously want to go through that? If not treated, malaria is definitely life-threatening.
And people aren’t the only ones endangered. Dogs that aren’t on a prevention program can develop heartworms that you really don’t want the details about. Just ask your vet. And cat lovers may be surprised to learn that felines also are susceptible, but “are much less likely than dogs to have adult heartworms,” according to the American Heartworm Society.
How to safeguard against the little skeeters is simple. Here are some tips:
- West long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks.
- Use an EPA-registered insect repellent.
- Stay indoors when possible, especially if there is a mosquito-borne disease warning is in effect.
- Reduce potential mosquito hangouts like standing water in flower pots, ponds, pools, etc.
- If the city plans to spray for mosquitoes in your neighborhood, residents should avoid contact with the spray by staying indoors.
And while you’re shopping/updating your DEET, check out your sunscreen rating. Better be SPF 30 or above, and it doesn’t do any good left on the shelf.
* Photo credit: Skeeter Hagler