Those Rotten Mosquitos!

6 08 2012

West Nile virus is busy this year, with 241 cases and four deaths reported.

Mosquitos are the carriers of this disease, and we all know the mosquito population has exploded this summer. It is possible to transmit West Nile virus (WNV) in other ways, such as through blood transfusions, organ transplants, breastfeeding, or even during pregnancy from mother to baby, but the risk for those types of transmissions is small.

No one wants WNV, so the first thing to do is prevent mosquito bites.

Use insect repellent, and reapply it periodically – read the directions on the can.

Look around your property – if there’s any standing water, drain it. Mosquitos love to breed in still waters.

Mosquitos were getting in our house in the evenings. After a couple of hours of investigation, we discovered a gap in a screen where they were getting through. Check every door and window in your home for openings.

There is no vaccine for humans, but research is ongoing.

Most people who are infected with WNV experience no symptoms, but for some, infection can cause fever, headache, nausea, coma, paralysis and other serious problems.

There is no treatment specific to WNV. If you become infected, your symptoms will be treated.

Be aware that mosquitos carry more than WNV. They also carry and transmit dengue, various viral diseases that cause encephalitis, malaria, yellow fever, and Rift Valley fever.

Contact your city or county to find out what they’re doing to reduce the mosquito population. If they’re not doing enough, rally your neighbors to add their voices to yours in asking that action be taken.

By Trish Parnell

Image courtesy of LoloTahiti

Feeling Crowded?

21 05 2010

Aaaah, crowds. That sea of humanity one swims in at rock concerts, baseball stadiums, political rallies, the Hajj, the World Cup, and other events that draw us like kids to jam.


Courtesy Robert Molinarius

You know what else we swim in at crowded events? Germs. Lots and lots of germs. They’re in the under-cooked foods, the restrooms, the coughs and sneezes, the trails the many fingers leave behind. They’re everywhere.

This summer’s FIFA World Cup will be huge. It only comes around once every four years, so there’s a lot of pent-up excitement waiting to spill all over South Africa.

Most soccer fans around the world will scream and pound tables at home or in a pub, through their TVs, computer screens, radios, and smartphones. They’ll be exposed to germs, but the World Cup is exposure to the third magnitude.

Fans migrating toward South Africa to revel in all of that which is hockey will soon plunge into microbial soup. So, just a word about prevention please. Your loved ones want you returned in the same condition as that in which you left.

How do you do that?  How do you avoid the billions of disease-causing germs you’re sure to meet when crowded up next to 10,000, 100,000, or 1,000,000 other people?

  • If you can’t bring your own food, make sure to eat nothing that’s uncooked or under-cooked.
  • Bottled water is a must, and better to bring your own in case it’s hard to get.
  • Hand sanitizer is your friend. Use it A LOT and definitely before touching anything you will eat or drink, and don’t touch your face unless you’ve just sanitized your hands. On second thought, just don’t touch your face.
  • Check with your provider and get caught up on your immunizations.
  • Use a product to keep bugs away (some carry disease).
  • Unless you’re wearing a special mask, there’s not much you can do about the germs people sneeze and cough into the air, but you can cover your sneezes and coughs to protect others.

That’s about it, unless someone has a good tip they’d like to add.

By the way, Rift Valley fever is popping up in South Africa, so watch out for those mosquitos, and no handling of dead, uncooked animals.

Have fun!