New Mosquitoes-Borne Virus Will Make You Sick
A new mosquito-borne virus has made its way to our shores.
It’s called chikungunya. Outbreaks of this virus are normally found in Africa, Asia, Europe, and in nations in the Indian Ocean.
Last year, an outbreak occurred for the first time in the Caribbean. From there, this nasty virus traveled to the United States. Ten cases have been confirmed in North Carolina and two in Florida. Nationwide, the count is 230.
In most of these cases, people were bitten while visiting the Caribbean, or they were visitors who had been infected elsewhere and then carried the disease here. But already, in several of the cases, the disease has been transmitted domestically. Officials confirm that they suspect local mosquitoes have bitten infected travelers. Those local mosquitoes then become carriers and can infect others.
This is the same way that West Nile Virus gained a foothold in the U.S.
I suspect that in the coming years, we’re going to see chikungunya spread across the entire continental United States. Just one more reason to take extra care to prevent mosquito bites. More on that in a moment…
First let’s talk a bit more about this new virus.
A Nasty Disease That Can Lead to Long-Term Suffering
First the good news. Chikungunya is rarely fatal. It’s not nearly as dangerous as West Nile Virus.
But there’s bad news, too. Just because it isn’t deadly, doesn’t mean chikungunya is a walk in the park. Typical symptoms include:
- Join pain
- Muscle aches
- Joint swelling
Symptoms last about a week for most people. But sometimes, chikungunya can cause long-term joint pain.
This is definitely a virus you want to avoid. There’s no vaccine and no treatment for chikungunya. That means prevention is key.
So, let’s look at some of the best ways to keep the mosquitoes at bay this summer.
5 Ways to Prevent
Avoidance: Fortunately, mosquitoes are pretty predictable. They tend to be most active at dawn and dusk. If possible, schedule your outside activities for later in the morning, the afternoon, or early in the evening. During these times you have a much lower chance of being bitten.
Make Yourself Less of a Target: Mosquitos are attracted to movement, warmth, and dark colors. If you are going to be out during prime mosquito hours, dress in lighter clothing—whites and tans are good—and keep cool.
Create an Inhospitable Environment: Mosquitoes thrive in areas that have standing water. They need standing water to lay and hatch eggs. Review your yard and check for mosquito friendly areas. If you have an area that doesn’t drain well, an old wheelbarrow that catches rain, or even a birdbath, these can all become breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Hire a landscaper or contractor to help correct yard drainage issues. Upend your wheelbarrow. If you love watching the birds play in your birdbath, that’s fine. Just make sure you empty it and refill it every couple of days.
If you’re planning on entertaining outside during the evening hours, you can take several steps to make your gathering less enticing for mosquitoes. First, switch out your light bulbs for Bug Lights. These lights produce a glow that does not act as a beacon for bugs. Then set up an electric fan or two at the edge of your patio, blowing away from your party. Mosquitoes aren’t strong fliers, and the currents can help keep them away. Burning candles, tiki torches, or anything else that produces smoke can also send mosquitoes packing.
Use Repellant: If you’re prone to mosquito bites— and mosquitoes do like some people better than others— make sure you use an insect repellent if you’re going out at dawn or dusk. I don’t like recommending harsh chemicals, but in test after test, DEET performs best at preventing mosquito bites. If you don’t have a sensitivity to DEET, that’s the way to go. If you do have a reaction to DEET, experiment with gentler, natural options until you find the one that works best for you.
Wearing bug repellant clothing is another effective option. You can usually find shirts and pants that repel mosquitoes at outdoor stores.
Tap Into the Food Chain: If you live in an area that’s prone to high mosquito activity, you can take an unorthodox approach and install a bat box in your backyard. A single, common brown bat will eat up to 1000 mosquitoes an hour. If you can attract one to live nearby, they offer some powerful mosquito protection.
Between West Nile virus and now chikungunya, mosquitoes are a serious health risk. Make sure you are taking steps to protect yourself and your family from these painful and potentially harmful diseases.
P.S. – West Nile virus … Ebola … drug-resistant infections … chikungunya. The number of disease outbreaks around the world is going up. You need a line of defense that can help you and your family fight off infections. The CDC and the FDA don’t want you to know about this, but I have just the solution you might be looking for. Hurry, though. Government busybodies would love to make it illegal for me to offer this to you. Learn more now…