How Dangerous are Mosquito Bites?

Mosquito bite

Mosquitoes are arguably among the most dangerous animals on the planet accounting for millions of deaths every year. These flying parasites have the ability to carry and transmit diseases to humans. For the most part, mosquito bites are nothing more than an itchy nuisance that will go away on its after 24 hours.

This isn’t the case for individuals with low immunity who often get exposed to life threatening ailments that can seriously threaten their lives.

Some of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases include the Dengue fever, Zika infection, Malaria, and Chikungunya etc. Let’s discuss the 3 most dangerous and well known mosquito-borne diseases.

1. Dengue Fever

Dengue is one of the deadliest diseases on the planet affecting up to 400 million people every year! 100 million people will get sick from infection and 22,000 will die from severe dengue. This virus is also found in larger parts of Southeast Asia, from northern Australia to Afghanistan, but also in South America, sub-Saharan Africa, and a few Southern States of the US.

2. Zika Infection

The Zika virus is transmitted by the Asian tiger mosquito, the Aedes albopictus, and the yellow fever mosquito. It primarily occurs in South and Central America, Florida, and Texas. Areas in Southeast Asia are also affected. These include Thailand, Philippines, and Vietnam.

Populations that are at the greatest risks to the Zika virus are women in the first trimester of their pregnancy that will often contract the virus and pass it onto their babies. This is particularly dangerous because the transmission often goes unnoticed.

3. Malaria

Malaria is arguably the most well-known tropical disease on the planet. It is caused by a unicellular organism called a Plasmodium, spread primarily by the Anopheles mosquito. Malaria is so deadly and easily transmittable that about 40 percent of all people worldwide are at risk of contracting malaria. The disease progresses in fever episodes and has a mix of symptoms including headaches, pain, sweating, and even diarrhea.

How to Prevent Mosquito Bites

You can lower your risk of mosquito bites by using an insect repellent on your skin during hours when mosquitoes are most active, which is from dawn to dusk. If you plan on going outdoors, especially in wooded and bushy areas, make sure to apply a repellant beforehand.

Most insect repellants use active ingredients such as picaridin and DEET to provide protection and last longer than other alternatives.  Studies also show that the oil of lemon eucalyptus provides protection that rivals that of DEET in low concentrations.

For obvious reasons, if you know that the area you’re going to has large swarms of mosquitoes, make sure to cover your body from head to toe.

Do not let water accumulate around you. Mosquitoes breed near humid environments and will dramatically expand their numbers. The best way to keep their population under check is to keep your gutters clean, change the water in birdbaths regularly, and drain children’s pools.

You can also keep bugs out of your home by frequently maintaining holes in your window screens. Repair any damage in screens that have holes or tears in them because they serve as outlets for mosquitoes.

If you recently got bit by a mosquito and feel concerned about your health, please visit https://www.healthonemedicine.com or call 469-208-9770 to make an appointment.

Author
Health One Family Medicine

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