Headlining the news in my corner of the world is Chikungunya. Although it sounds like something you might be tempted to order in your favorite restaurant rather than the Chicken Marsala or Chicken Piccata, let me assure you that it isn’t anything you’d want to add to your bucket list.
You see, Chikungunya is a virus transmitted to humans by Mosquitoes. In the tropical climate of southeastern Florida, where they soar through the air with the wing span of Mothra, the Florida Department of Health is on high alert.
To be clear, the Chikungunya virus is not usually fatal, but causes great discomfort to those diagnosed. Symptoms include fever, severe joint aches, head aches, and a rash. There is no vaccine to prevent the viral infection, or medicine to treat it. The virus had not been found in the continental United States until recently, when the Palm Beach Post reported the first locally contracted case in Palm Beach County this month.
Are you asking yourself, as I did, what purpose could these blood sucking creatures serve? (I mean, other then eliminating me from my third grade spelling bee….there’s a Q – really?)
The Mosquito, labeled the deadliest insect on Earth, carries blood born diseases such as West Nile Virus, Malaria, Dengue Fever, and Yellow Fever yet have ecological roles. According to Dr. Gilbert Waldbauer in “The Handy Bug Answer Book”, Mosquito larvae are nutrient packed snacks for fish and other aquatic animals. As adults, they serve as equally nutritious meals for birds, bats, and spiders. He goes on to say that as much as we loathe them, their extinction, were it even achievable, would have an enormous adverse affect on the entire ecosystem.
So, I get it – they’re here to stay – but that doesn’t mean we can’t outsmart them.
Here are 4 Ways to avoid the bloodthirsty mosquito:
* Mosquito repellent – the most popular is DEET (chemical name N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) It doesn’t actually kill them, but makes it hard for biting insects to smell us – like a cloaking device. If they could only develop a product like that for human predators…another time, another blog. The EPA continues to believe that with normal use, these products are safe.
* Wear loose, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when out doors. Sweating vs. disease = no brainer
* Mosquito netting over your bed.
* Avoid standing water. Mosquitoes are attracted to water and lay their eggs in stagnant water.
Of course, you could always barricade yourself in your house, call in sick to work, take a stay-cation, pray for snow, toilet train the dog, and wait them out. But we all know….they’ll be back.
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As always, From the Point Lori Flynn