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Keep the skeeters away

The Mommy Chronicles

August 24, 2012
Anne Blankenship , The Daily Freeman Journal

The news that more and more cases of West Nile Virus are being reported is a little disturbing. Even though only three cases have been reported in Iowa, none have been identified in Hamilton County, according to Shelby Kroona, administrator for Hamilton County Public Health.

But surrounding states, like Minnesota, Illinois and South Dakota have experienced cases in greater numbers. All three of those states have each had one death resulting from West Nile Virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Is it just me, or does it seems kind of odd that with our drought and hot summer that the mosquito population and cases of WNV would be on the rise??I asked Shelby about that, and she said the lack of water means that mosquito hatches were occurring in more concentrated batches. Apparently, it's not even the mosquitos that start the whole disease process. The CDC?website says that mosquitos contract the disease when they feed on infected birds. WNV is then spread as those hungry skeeters target humans and other animals for lunch.

When I heard the dire reports from other locations, like Texas, with more than 500 reported cases and 19 deaths, my maternal instincts told me to invest in Deep Woods OFF and spray my family from head to toe. And according to health officials, that's not a bad idea. Whenever you're outdoors, they suggested using an insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535. Experts say the little critters are most active around dawn and dusk, so it might be wise to avoid yard work or other outside activities during those times. But if it's unavoidable, bring along the mosquito spray and wear long sleeves and long pants if possible.

It isn't always outside where one will find mosquitos. I've swatted a few in my house. Sometimes they'll come in through a hole in a screen or if the door is left open too long.

I?found an old bucket by my basement door that had a couple inches of water in it from the most recent rain. I quickly emptied that out. If you have a birdbath, it might be wise to change the water in it fairly often. Standing water is an open invitation to mosquitos.

According to the CDC, about 80 percent of the people infected with WNV will show no symptoms. Up to about 20 percent may show mild symptoms -?fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, body aches and rash - while only about 1 in 150 will experience serious symptoms, including high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.

So, with that, I'm off to the buy some repellent. Though the incidence of WNV in Iowa are quite small, I?guess I'd rather be safe than sorry.



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