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Dedicated to addressing women’s issues.

How To Protect Your Family From the Mosquito – And Prevent West Nile Virus

Posted by Catherine Morgan on July 12, 2007

By Catherine Morgan — cross posted at BlogHer

I hate mosquitoes, doesn’t everyone? These buggers can really get big too, and I’m pretty sure they are bigger here in Florida than they were in Pennsylvania.
 Cornell University
Last year one got in my house that was the size of a small bird…yuck, yuck, yuck. Bugs really creep me out. O.k. – before I give myself a bug anxiety attack, let me get to the point of this post. West Nile virus and how to prevent it.

West Nile virus is mainly transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Mosquitoes transmit the virus after becoming infected by feeding on the blood of birds carrying the virus.

Most people infected with the virus either have no symptoms or they have flu-like symptoms. Sometimes the virus can cause severe illness, resulting in hospitalization and even death. — read full article

Officials Warn West Nile Is Back

In 2006, 33 West Nile human fatalities were reported, and since 2002, 71 fatalities due to the virus have been reported in Texas, Schuster said, quoting state health service figures. — read full article

How do you know if you have West Nile Virus? The good thing is, 4 out of 5 people exposed to the West Nile Virus will not become ill. But for the 1 of 5 that will, here are some of the sypmptoms to look out for…

It is estimated that about 20% of people who become infected with WNV will develop West Nile fever. Symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, and body aches, occasionally with a skin rash (on the trunk of the body) and swollen lymph glands. While the illness can be as short as a few days, even healthy people have reported being sick for several weeks. — read more from CDC

The symptoms of severe disease (also called neuroinvasive disease, such as West Nile encephalitis or meningitis or West Nile poliomyelitis) include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 150 persons infected with the West Nile virus will develop a more severe form of disease. Serious illness can occur in people of any age, however people over age 50 and some immunocompromised persons (for example, transplant patients) are at the highest risk for getting severely ill when infected with WNV. — read more from CDC

To DEET or not to DEET…That is the Question? Lets see if we can find the answer.

Study after study shows DEET (Meta-N,N-diethyl toluamide) is the most effective mosquito repellant.

High concentrations or extended use of DEET can pose a health risk. The Centers for Disease Control/Prevention recommend using repellents with less than 50 percent DEET. (Health Canada recommends repellents with 30 percent DEET or less.)

Children should not use products that have more than 10 percent DEET, and it should be used sparingly.

A high concentration of DEET does not mean better protection; it gives longer protection. (For example, 30 percent DEET will give you about six hours of protection.) — read full article

There are also non-chemical alternatives you can try…

Essential Oils: Mix choice of essential oils with rubbing alcohol, or witch hazel, or distilled water and spritz on body or directly on cloth to rub on body (shake before each use). Or add a few drops in baby oil or olive oil then rub on skin. You can also apply drops along a strip of fabric (cotton) and tie around wrist. *Make sure to avoid mouth and eye areas when using essential oils.

* Citronella oil
* Lavender oil
* Catnip oil
* Eucalyptus oil
* Pennyroyal oil
* Basil oil
* Thyme oil
* Cedar oil
* Tea Tree oil
* Peppermint oil
* Lemongrass oil

Read full article.

Just as important as protecting your skin, you need to take measures to prevent these pesky vampire bugs from breeding near your home.

Many mosquitoes — but not all — breed in standing water. To fight them you need to get rid of any water in your yard. And that means any.

Toys, tarpaulins, clogged gutters, even discarded bottle caps — anything that will hold even a few teaspoons of water can serve as a mosquito breeding ground, said Joe Conlon, technical adviser for the American Mosquito Control Association. — read full article

Tips For Avoiding Mosquito Bites

As much as I hate mosquitoes, I have a confession to make. Even though they “bug” me, they never actually “bite” me. I honestly can’t remember the last time I was bitten by a mosquito. I still hate when they are swarming around, but when others are getting bit, I’m just getting bumped and landed on.

So why is it some people get bit by mosquitoes and some people don’t?

Scientific research has shown that if you are frequently bitten by mosquitoes, it is because of the smell you give off. Mosquitoes are attracted to the smells of certain people. If a person is rarely bitten, then his or her body gives off a smell that masks the scent that attracts mosquitoes. — read full post

And let’s not forget about our pets. Dogs can also get very sick from mosquito bites, not from West Nile, but from something called Heartworm. If you live in an area with a large mosquito population, you need to make sure your dog is treated with medication to prevent this parasite. Because if your dog does get heartworm, not only is it very costly to cure, but it is also very painful for your dog. Not for the squeamishpictures of heartworm and removal.

photo credit to Cornnell College

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7 Responses to “How To Protect Your Family From the Mosquito – And Prevent West Nile Virus”

  1. Your article about West Nile virus, although quite thorough, fails to mention that a safe and effective treatment for WNV encephalitis was published three years ago.

    My company developed (and owns a patent which is still pending) on the treatment, and has been using it in an ongoing free clinical trial for the past 5 years, since 2003.

    I have no interest watching another summer’s death toll from a disease I’m increasingly confident that I can treat.

    Our initial results on 8 patients seen in Sept, 2003 were published in a peer-reviewed medical journal in July, 2004 (1). Publication in a peer-reviewed medical journal is all that’s required for a treatment to officially exist, even if the public health authorities refuse to mention it.

    21 patients with WNV have responded so far, out of 25 (84%). We’ve also treated 4 horses (3 responded) and 12 birds (6 responded; birds present sicker than humans and horses). Our WNV trial is free from our end. The blood pressure meds we use are inexpensive (around $1/day) and are available by prescription from any drugstore in the country.

    Anybody who wants to download our trial documents can do so at any time of day or night from our homepage at http://www.genomed.com.

    It would be great if you could help publicize this treatment now, since beginning treatment early–within the first 48 hrs of encephalitis symptoms–seems to be the only way to avoid long-term sequelae such as paralysis, chronic fatigue, cognitive problems, etc. WNV is notorious for still affecting half of WNV victims 18 months later.

    If a family knows about our treatment ahead of time, they’ll be in a much better position to get it prescribed for their relative who comes down with the disease. Physicians haven’t heard about this treatment any more than patients have, thanks to the inexplicable, and, I think, inexcusable silence of the public health authorities, from the CDC on down.

    Reference
    1. Moskowitz DW, Johnson FE. The central role of angiotensin I-converting enzyme in vertebrate pathophysiology. Curr Top Med Chem. 2004;4(13):1433-54. PMID: 15379656 (For PDF file, click on paper #6 at: http://www.genomed.com/index.cfm?action=investor&drill=publications)

    Best regards,

    Dave Moskowitz MD
    Chairman, CEO & Chief Medical Officer
    GenoMed, Inc.
    “Our business is public health(TM)”

    website: http://www.genomed.com
    Ticker symbol: GMED.PK (on the OTC Pink Sheets)

    email: dwmoskowitz@genomed.com

  2. Thanks for sharing this information Dave.

    How come I can’t help but think: If your company was named MERCK this would be a recognized $500 acceptable treatment, possibly being mass marketed to the public? Sorry for my lack of professionalism.

    Thankfully this disease isn’t causing large amounts of deaths (at least at this point). But I agree…at the very least doctors need to be made aware of an effective treatment.

    Thanks again for your comment and the links.

  3. Rose said

    Well I’m glad to see that I’m not the only person that hates bugs! Now with the weather getting warmer they are getting more prevalent – and let’s not even start to talk about the bees!

  4. Hi Rose…

    Don’t forget the spiders, we get some giant ones in FL. I’m like a little baby when I see a spider…I’ll be in full panic attack mode even if I just see a little one.

  5. Panic Away Course

    This helped me out of those DARK PLACES.

  6. six pack abs

    Truth About Abs

  7. Nicole said

    I live in Dallas and the mosquitoes are horrible in my backyard. My sons love going outside but hate getting bit by mosquitoes and worst having me spray them with off. I found a great solution in a product called bugbam. It is a mosquito repelling bracelet and it looks like a cause bracelet that actually works great. I tried some others and they are a piece of junk. I bought some this year at walmart last year I bought some on their website. http://www.bugbam.com

    You need to try them, your kids will love you for them.

    Nicole Davis 🙂

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