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Mosquitos: Minor Annoyance or Deadly Assassin?

A tiny bite can make you itch, make you sneeze, make you twitch.

Sound familiar? This unique phrase comes directly from the 1995 movie, Jumanji, in which these nasty winged creatures caused all sorts of havoc in the fictional town of Brantford, New Hampshire.

OK, so perhaps these movie counterparts were a bit exaggerated in size, but no matter their size, they are still considered the deadliest creature on the planet due to the deadly diseases they can carry. It should be noted that only female mosquitoes only have the capability to bite humans and animals alike and tend to go after one individual within a group by using the smell of their breath. They use it’s stinger like nose, called a proboscis, to wriggle around your skin in order to find a blood vessel. To make matters worse, they tend to peak around July and August! Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself

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Know What You Are Up Against.

It should be noted that there are over 3000 species of mosquitos that have been discovered worldwide, however there are only six species that are common in the US who are responsible for spreading the most dangerous viruses:

CHIKUNGUNYA

  • Symptoms: Fever, headache, and joint pain 3 to 7 days after bite.
  • Serious Effects: Usually only people with other health problems, such as diabetes or heart disease.
  • Treatment: None. Tylenol and fluids to ease symptoms; no aspirin or related drugs such as ibuprofen.

DENGUE

  • Symptoms: Fever, rash, and severe eye, bone, joint, and muscle pain 4 to 7 days after bite.
  • Serious Effects: Severe damage to the body’s blood vessels leading to bleeding and sometimes death.
  • Treatment: None. Tylenol and fluids to ease symptoms; no aspirin or related drugs such as ibuprofen.

WEST NILE

  • Symptoms: Fat, red rash with small bumps 2 to 14 days after bite, followed by headache, fatigue, and back pain.
  • Serious Effects: In rare cases, inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissue which can be fatal.
  • Treatment: None. To ease symptoms, fluids and over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen.

ZIKA

  • Symptoms: Fever, rash, joint pain, and pinkeye 2 to 14 days after bite.
  • Serious Effects: Birth defects and developmental delays; in adults Guillain-Barre.
  • Treatment: None. Tylenol and fluids, no aspirin or related drugs.
  • Other Common Illnesses Worldwide:
  • Malaria, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis
  • Consider if traveling Prophylaxis medications and vaccinations offered at NuCara Health Solutions
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Commercially Available Repellants

DEET (n-diethy-m-toluamide)

  • Common Products: Off! Repel, Cutter, Sawyer, Ultrathon
  • Gold-standard repellant according to the WHO and CDC aainst which all are compared
  • Ages > 2 months o Concentrations 30% or less recommended
  • Safe in second and third trimester and while breastfeed; avoid in first trimester
  • Available in: spray, solution, cream, wipes
  • Must reapply every 4 to 6 hours

Picaridin

  • Common Products: Skin so Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition
  • Ages >2 years
  • Avoid in Pregnancy/breast feeding AND malariaendemic areas
  • Does not damage plastics or synthetics
  • Must reapply every 4 to 6 hours

PMD (p-methane-3, 8 diol)

  • Common Products: Repel and Cutter
  • Ages >3 years
  • Avoid in Pregnancy/breast feeding
  • Recommended for use in malaria-endemic areas
  • Must reapply every 4 to 6 hours

IR3535 (ethyl butylacetylaminoproprionate)

  • Common Products: Skin so Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition
  • Avoid in pregnancy/breast feeding AND malariaendemic areas
  • Must reapply every 6 to 8 hour

Permethrin

  • Common Product: Sawyer
  • Can us on clothes, shoes, nets, or other fabrics
  • DO NOT apply directly to skin
  • Nongreasy with no order and does not damage plastics
  • Must be reapplied generally after 6 weeks or 6 washes

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BUG REPELLANT DO NOT’s

  • Use on broken skin
  • Apply under clothes
  • Apply to face unless done so by applying to hands first and carefully applying to avoid eyes
  • Allow children to apply themselves Other Considerations
  • Avoid combination products that contain sunscreen!
  • Sunscreens needs to be reapplied more frequently
  • This limits the chances of toxicity due to frequent applications
  • Repellent may decrease SPF of sunscreen >> Apply sunscreen first