West Nile Virus and Symptoms
Here are a few facts about the condition. One, the West Nile virus is not passed from human to human or human to animal directly. So, if a person has been diagnosed with it, they can’t affect you unless you are bitten by the same mosquito that bit them.
Also, the condition is not normally fatal. You will feel bad much like you have the flu in some cases, but the symptoms can be treated. Some people might not know that they even had this virus to begin with.
In rare cases, exposure can lead to more serious symptoms. Older people or those who are immune-compromised are at risk for complications if bitten by an infected mosquito.
Whether your risk is great or small, it doesn’t hurt to protect yourself by taking a few preventative measures.
* Wear long pants and/or socks in the woods – Light-colored breathable fabrics can keep you cool in the warm months. When hiking, camping or bike riding they can also cover any exposed skin to reduce the number of places that a mosquito has to feed on you. They will hit your clothing first, giving you time to swat them before they bite you.
* Wear mosquito repellent – There are several different kinds on the market. This includes wet sprays, dry sprays and even insect repellent lotions. Whatever fits the bill for your activity, use it. Be sure that the repellent contains DEET for greater potency. Don’t forget to reapply as needed for the time you will be spending outdoors.
* Avoid standing water – Whether around your home or in the woods, stagnant water can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Try to wait until it is drier instead of hiking or exploring the woods after a heavy rain.
* Use mosquito netting for kids – If you live near or in the woods, mosquito netting over playpens can protect kids from exposure when outdoors. Netted tents or gazebos can protect everyone who is spending time outdoors.
West Nile Virus Symptoms
It needs to be known that the potential for fatalities is low. The risk of serious complication increases with age and a compromised immune system. Usually, those who have contracted the West Nile virus can recover on their own given time.
How will you know that you have been exposed? Well, any mosquito bite can potentially be from an infected mosquito. If there are recent reports of cases in your area, that risk just went up.
Here are some symptoms that you may encounter:
* Body aches
These also sound like garden variety symptoms that can occur with the flu. Only a doctor can correctly diagnose you as having come in contact with an infected mosquito. Some people who are exposed are asymptomatic. They can become infected and the virus runs its course without any significant change to their health.
In a few cases other symptoms can present themselves. They include skin rashes, eye pain and even swollen lymph glands. Again, these symptoms usually pass without anything more occurring.
If you do notice that your symptoms are accompanied by worsening symptoms and additional ones like partial paralysis, confusion and stiff neck, see your doctor right away. You could fall into the less than one percent of people who develop neurological complications. An infection in the brain can lead to encephalitis, meningitis or meningoencephalitis.