MOSQUITO BITES: SYMPTOMS AND TYPES OF MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESSES
The insect Culicidae are insects that are more commonly known simply as mosquitoes to us laymen. They are tiny flying insects that are about .125 mm to .75 inches in size. They are about 0.000088 oz in weight. Their bodies are slender and segmented with a pair of wings. They have six legs, elongated and tube-like mouthparts for the females, and an antenna attached to their heads. Their lifespan is from 2 weeks up to as long as 6 months. The mosquitoes life cycle starts from being an egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs on the water surface that has become stagnant for at least a week.
The female mosquitoes feed on human or animal blood, and in that way, they are able to spread diseases. We say females because the males do not have the necessary mouthparts to suck blood. Male mosquitoes feed on nectar.
Why are mosquitoes so dangerous
There are as many as 3,000 species of mosquitoes, but only three are responsible for the spread of the diseases. Many of these species need a blood meal before they can lay eggs. This way, they are able to transmit diseases, aside from the ugly bite marks on the skin that are itchy and irritating.
It has been said that mosquitoes are the most dangerous creatures on the planet. Surprising – because they are so tiny – but true. There are indeed a lot of creatures that look more menacing but do not have enough body count to show. Mosquitoes have caused more deaths than all the wars in history combined. Some of the diseases they are known to spread are dengue, malaria, West Nile virus, yellow fever, and Zika virus.
Symptoms of mosquito bites
Of course, before we contract these diseases, mosquitoes would bite us first. Mosquitoes favorite breeding ground is stagnant water. You would often find them in clogged gutters, old tires that have gathered rain, birdbaths that have been neglected, swimming pools, and basically a body of water that is not moving or flowing.
As we have mentioned earlier, only the female mosquitoes have the necessary mouthparts to be able to suck blood. They have two tubes, one is to insert enzymes that would prevent blood clotting, and the other is for sucking blood.
Mosquitoes have very poor eyesight. Thus they cannot really see clearly their potential hosts. They home in on their next blood meal through the carbon dioxide emitted by humans. Aside from that, they also use the scent from human perspiration.
So how do you know if you were bitten by these mosquitoes? Immediately after being bitten, you would notice around, the reddish bump on your skin. It can also be very itchy. You may spot just one, but it is possible that you would find several of these bites on your skin.
During a bite, you might be able to feel a stinging sensation, though it may not be as painful as an ant’s sting. Then, of course, the itchiness would follow. Most of the time, mosquito bites would just go away on its own after a couple of days. However, some people may have an impaired immune system, and this could cause several problems. These people could have severe allergic reactions.
As mentioned, mosquito bites often heal on its own without any interventions. However, you may want to take extra precautions and treat them. You may wash the bite with soap and water. If you feel some pain, an over the counter pain medication and anti-itch medication will just do the trick. You may also apply an ice pack on the bite to relieve itching.
This is what makes mosquitoes so deadly: they are disease-carrying insects. They transmit diseases to humans after they bite.
Just what exactly are these diseases? Here are some of them:
The dengue fever is a painful and debilitating, and possibly life-threatening disease. It is caused by one of four viruses and transmitted through the bite of the Aedes mosquito. The four dengue viruses are simply known as Dengue virus 1, 2, 3, and 4. Since there are four different viruses that cause it, a person may get the disease four times during his lifetime. It is the number one cause of illnesses and deaths in tropical and subtropical countries. Worldwide, the estimated number of infections is from 390 to 400 million. Most of these cases occur in tropical countries like Africa, Mexico, the Pacific Islands, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Central and South America. Symptoms include sudden high fever that lasts for a week, vomiting, severe headaches, difficulty breathing, a tendency to bruise easily, pain behind the eyes, nausea, skin rash, black and tarry stool, and bleeding nose or gum. For now, there is no known treatment for dengue. Prevention is therefore very important.
Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by a bite from a female Anopheles mosquito. The source is a parasite known as the Plasmodium parasite which the mosquito transfers to a human after a bite. Africa has the highest number of cases of malaria, accounting for 92% of the cases in 2017. In the United States, malaria is a result of increased travel by Americans to countries where the parasites are endemic, then return back to the U.S. already with the infection after being bitten by a mosquito. This could be through blood transmission, sharing of needles, or organ transplant. The initial symptoms are fever, headache, muscle aches, nausea, muscle aches, chills, and tiredness. If not treated within 24 hours, malaria can progress to severe illness and even death. Once you suspect having malaria, see you health care provider immediately.
West Nile Fever
West Nile fever is the most common mosquito-borne disease in the United States. Of those people who are infected, only 20 percent show symptoms. These symptoms usually show from 3 days to two weeks after being bitten. A person with mild symptoms will recover quickly. Symptoms could be a mild fever, body aches, headaches, diarrhea, vision loss, numbness, body rashes, swollen lymph glands, muscle weakness, and paralysis. For people with severe cases however, we can even see the patient have meningitis and permanent brain damage, Death can occur when the central nervous system gets affected. People over 60 or those with medical conditions are at higher risk of getting severe symptoms. If you think you have West Nile fever, seek care from a doctor. The doctor can order tests to verify if you contracted the virus.
The “yellow” in the name yellow fever refers to jaundice that appears in some of the patients. For most people who are infected, there are no symptoms. Those with symptoms will have a fever, chills, severe headache, body pains, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. Of these people who show symptoms, a smaller percentage may have a more severe phase within one day. They will then have jaundice, high fever, dark urine, and abdominal pains. There may be bleeding in the eyes, nose, mouth, and stomach. After this, the patients may die after 7 to 10 days.
Zika virus disease is caused by the Zika virus. This disease is spread by the Aedes species. This species is actually active during the day. The symptoms for this disease are fever, rashes, headaches, joint pain, and red eyes. Symptoms can last for several days to a week. These symptoms appear within one week to two weeks, but they are mild and not fatal. There is no vaccine for Zika, but people who were already infected develop immunity to it.
Most of these diseases have no cure. Thereby prevention is our only protection. Here are some tips on how to prevent the spread of mosquitoes and effectively eliminating the source of these diseases:
- Remove all things that can hold water. Old things like used tires, old cans, broken or clogged rain gutters, outdoor faucets, street gutters, and plastic containers.
- Use a mosquito net in the bedroom so they will not be able to bite you.
- Install tight-fitting windows and put a screen on it. If you do not have screens, make sure your doors and windows are closed at all times.
- Use mosquito repellents. Apply these on your skin.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when going outdoors for added protection.
- You may want to invest in mosquito traps and zappers. Mosquitoes are attracted to the trap by bait in an enclosed area, where they will be trapped or killed by a net
If all else fails, there will always be people who can help you get rid of mosquitoes. You may call in the best in pest control management in Cary, North Carolina, Go-Forth Pest Control.
Simply the best in pest control management in North Carolina
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