After enjoying a much anticipated trip to Key West, Jeanette Potter returned home a week later deathly sick. After visiting the doctor and being misdiagnosed her condition began to deteriorate. After three trips to the doctors office and one to the emergency room, she discovered that she had the unfortunate honor of being the first case of an outbreak of Dengue Fever that was to hit Florida since 1934. She has recovered now from what health officials refer to as "break bone fever" and back at home. To date there are over two dozen confirmed cases in Florida and health officials fear that this outbreak is heading north.
Dengue virus originated from infected monkeys in Africa and Asia. The mosquito responsible for spreading this infection is the Aedes Aegypti from Africa and the Aedes Albopictus from Asia. After drinking blood from an infected host the mosquito carries the disease and is infected for life. After biting its next victim this disease is then transmitted. Dengue has four serotypes. What this means it that once you contract one of them, then you are immune from it for life. However you still are able to catch the other three and with each subsequent infection your chances of this becoming Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever increases. DHF is a life threatening condition that can lead to shock and death.
There are some things that you can do to decrease your risk of contracting this deadly disease as it possibly migrates across the United States.
Things You Will Need
Use an effect mosquito repellent. These mosquito are daytime feeders, but they will also feed at night where there are light on, so cover your skin with clothing from head to toe as much as possible when outdoors. When traveling consider location and active periods of infestation of mosquitoes and also take along a mosquito net.
Protect Your Environment
Check out your landscape for anything that can collect standing water. There are all kinds of containers in your yard natural or artificial that collect water after a rain. Cavities in trees as well as leaf-axils of plants retain water. Flower pots, plastic pools, watering bowls for pets, bird baths, water features, and clogged gutters make great breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The water in these should be changed frequently. Other items that are great water traps are old tires, tarps, cars, furniture, appliances, and boats. These should be covered or discarded from your environment. Repair leaky water meters and open or broken septic tanks. Also check your refrigerator tray that often harbours standing water in its trap. Keep this clean and dry.
Use Your Environment
Certain plant such as sassafras and sweet basil deter mosquitoes. Planting these near your porch or patio will act as a natural repellent. You can also plant these near window and at entrances to keep them at bay. Planting eucalyptus repels mosquitoes with their fragrances, and eucalyptus trees absorb extra water that tends to pool. Consider drying out these spots by planting this plant in wet areas. If you have a pond as a water feature, then stock it with Goldfish and they will reduce your mosquito population tremendously.Incorporating these small changes in your life can greatly reduce the risk of you are your family contracting this virus. This is not a contagious disease and can only be derived through an infected mosquito. Be especially vigilant in making these changes if a family member has been confirmed positive for this infection.
Tips & Warnings
Symptoms and Warning Signs
A high grade fever
A severe headache
Severe eye pain
Muscle and back pain
Mild bleeding (gums and nose)
If you have these symptoms contact your physician immediately and tell them what you suspect. If these symptoms progress to include vomiting blood, black tarry stools, severe abdominal pain, pale clammy skin and difficulty breathing, then go to the emergency room. This are the warning sign of DHF. This is a medical emergency that will require hospitalization to restore fluids and possible blood products.
Avoid aspirin and aspirin products!
They can cause an increase in bleeding. Instead take Tylenol until you get to the ER.