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Helpful Information Regarding the West Nile Virus

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With 47 deaths already reported this year, according to WebMD.com this could be the worst year in U.S. history for the West Nile virus.

These increasing numbers have lead many Americans to wonder what is the West Nile virus and how can we protect ourselves and our families from being exposed?

History of the West Nile Virus

According to kidshealth.org the West Nile virus (WNV) was actually discovered back in 1937 in Africa. However, the virus didn’t make its way over to the United States until the late 90’s. Ever since then the virus has become a growing concern during the summer months. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the mosquito-borne virus is currently circulating 47 states.

What is the WNV?

West Nile Virus can be a serious illness that is caused by a bite from an infected mosquito, keep in mind the mosquito has to already be carrying the virus to infect you. In many areas of the United States the risk of being infected is greatest from July until September. However, in some regions the risk is high year round.

West Nile Prevention

The most effective way to prevent WNV is to avoid being bitten by mosquitos.

– When outdoors, make sure you use insect repellent containing EPA ingredients
– Wear long sleeves and pants around dusk and dawn- mosquitos are more likely to bite when it is darker outside
– Make sure all of your screens on your windows and doors are tightly secured to keep those pesky mosquitos out
– Keep spaces clean!
* Empty standing water from pots, buckets and/or barrels.
* Frequently change your pets’ water bowls and empty your bird baths.

Symptoms of WNV

Symptoms of the WNV really depend on a person’s immune system (kidshealth.org). In most cases, people experience flu-like symptoms. However, some people can develop severe neurological problems, it depends on the severity of a person’s symptoms.

Serious Symptoms

About one in 150 people infected with WNV will have severe symptoms. These symptoms can include;
– High fever
– Neck stiffness
– Headache
– Vision loss
– Numbness
*These symptoms may last several weeks*

Milder Symptoms

Up to 20 percent of people infected with WNV will experience;
– Fever
– Headache
– Body ache
– Skin rash on neck, chest, etc.
*Symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks*

No Symptoms

Around 80 percent of people who are infected with WNV will show no signs of illness

Who is at Risk?

– People over the age of 50 who are at higher risk to get a severe illness;
– Cancer
– Diabetes
– High blood pressure
– Kidney disease
– Organ transplant
– People who are outdoors

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/news/20120822/west-nile-virus-whos-at-risk

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/wnv_factSheet.htm

http://kidshealth.org/kid/ill_injure/aches/west_nile.html#

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About the Author:

Hi everyone! My name is Jennifer and I am the face behind all of fmwicblog.com articles. I have an undergraduate degree in Broadcast/Journalism with a minor in Marketing. I completed my Master's in Health Communication in 2014. I work for a company called Family Medical Walk-In Clinic that is based out of Southwest Missouri. They are an Urgent Care facility based out of Springfield, MO. We decided to start this blog page to give our community a little something extra. I have found a passion for writing health related articles; I write articles based on what I think my readers want to know and learn more about. I don't want to overwhelm anyone with a bunch of medical terms, so I keep most of my articles simple and to the point. I want to thank those of you who are loyal to reading my weekly articles and also to my new readers. I hope you find this website informative but at the same time enjoyable!

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