By Savannah Owens
There have been 19 confirmed cases and counting of the Zika Virus in Texas this year. In 2016 Texas had 370 cases of West Nile Virus, which is also becoming a threat in Texas in 2017 as mosquito season has hit it’s peak time. People can hardly go outside to check their mail without being bitten.
While most people who contract West Nile Virus don’t have symptoms, about 20% of people will face fever, body aches, nausea and flu-like symptoms. 1% of infections are considered sever and can be life threatening.
People with the Zika Virus have many similar symptoms as West Nile Virus, such as fever and aching joints. A differentiation is that the Zika virus symptoms contain red-eyes and a rash. Pregnant Women should be especially careful as the Zika Virus has been linked to many birth defects.
If you find yourself with any of these symptoms consult a medical professional immediately.
Here are some tips from the Texas Department of State Health and Human Service and KSST Family to help prevent getting bitten and keep you safe:
- Use EPA-approved insect repellent (something with permethrin or DEET) every time you go outside.
- Keep air conditioning, windows, and door screens in good repair to keep mosquitoes out.
- Limit outdoor activities during peak mosquito times. (Dusk and Dawn)
- Cover exposed skin with long pants and long-sleeved shirts (or use bug spray) whenever possible.
- Remove standing water in and around homes, including in trash cans, toys, tires, flower pots, and any other containers so mosquitoes can’t lay their eggs.
- Using a larvicide in water containers that can’t be drained to keep mosquitoes from developing into biting adults.
- Keep plants and bushes trimmed to prevent areas mosquitoes can congregate.
- Make sure to change out the water in pet water bowls every day to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs.
- Clean out your gutters to make sure rain can flow easily, and not leave lingering water for mosquitoes to breed.