MOSQUITO: KNOW WHAT THE THE SKEETER SYNDROME IS ALL ABOUT
Practically no one likes to be bitten by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes themselves are very annoying. Nothing irritates me more than the buzzing sound that mosquitoes make when they fly near my ears. Their bites are also itchy and unsightly. Aside from that, mosquitoes are capable of transmitting several deadly diseases, such as dengue fever, malaria, elephantiasis, and encephalitis. However, is it possible that people could also be allergic to mosquitoes and their bites? Let us take a closer look at these flying pests, and try to learn more about them and how they can be such dangerous insects.
You can count on one hand the number of creatures that can evoke as much disdain as mosquitoes do. There are around 3,000 species of mosquitoes all throughout the world, and each one can spread more diseases than any other creature on the planet. Outdoors, they ruin picnics and barbeques just by their presence alone. Planning to hike in the woods? Carry with you everything you need to repel these mosquitoes or suffer ruin.
More than being just a nuisance, mosquitoes are considered as the deadliest creatures on the planet. So dangerous that it is said that these insects have caused more deaths to humans than all the wars in history combined. This is due to the fact that they are either carriers or vectors of some of the deadliest diseases known to man. Millions of people die each year due to mosquito-borne diseases.
Looking closely at a mosquito, they do not seem to amount to much. They are small insects, and they do not really look scary at all. They can easily be turned away by one flick of a finger. Mosquitoes are invertebrates, their size is about .125 inch to .75 inch. They are very lightweight, weighing only about .000088 ounce. They only live for 2 weeks to 6 months, yet they can do so much destruction to millions of lives.
There are as many as 3,000 species of mosquitoes, but only three of them are known to transmit diseases. Dangerous mosquito-borne diseases are Culex mosquitoes, which carry filariasis, West Nile virus, and encephalitis; Anopheles mosquitoes that carry malaria; and Aedes, which carry yellow fever, dengue fever, and encephalitis, and Aedes, which carries the West Nile and Zika viruses.
Mosquitoes undergo complete metamorphosis all their lives. They go through the egg stage, larval stage, pupa, and finally the adult stage. After that, the cycle starts all over again.
The only thing good about mosquitoes is that they are food for other creatures that are beneficial to the ecosystem. Birds, bats, frogs, and dragonflies are among the animals that eat mosquitoes.
How do mosquitoes find their hosts?
Mosquitoes bite during the day and in the evening, so being vigilant against the mosquitoes is a 24-hour activity. They have poor vision, so they use the carbon dioxide that was exhaled by humans to detect a host. Aside from that, they also use body odors and temperature. Studies have shown that some people are more attractive to mosquitoes than others because they have preferred scents.
Only the female adult mosquitoes bite. This is because they are the only ones who have the necessary mouthparts to suck blood. This mouthpart is called proboscis. Their proboscis has two tubes: one for injecting an enzyme that would prevent blood clotting, and the other is for sucking blood. The males feed on nectar from flowers. The blood is not actually for their own nourishment, but for their eggs’. For food, both the males and the females feed on nectar.
Allergic reactions to mosquito bites
As the female mosquitoes bite, they inject saliva into the skin of humans. Because human blood is too thick for the mosquitoes to siphon, their saliva contains enzymes that stop the clotting of the blood and allows them to suck it. Their saliva also contains many other proteins that can actually cause allergic reactions to humans. People who become itchy and have swellings around the bite area have the tendency to have reactions that decrease in frequency over time. However, those with these symptoms are not diagnosed as having mosquito allergy yet.
Someone with a severe reaction to mosquito bites will have a large area of swelling around the site of the bite, bruise, infection, itching, blistering rashes, and in worst cases, anaphylactic shock. People who are allergic to mosquitoes have what is known as “Skeeter Syndrome”.
Skeeter Syndrome is an allergy to mosquito saliva. This is said to be similar to a bee sting. In some cases, the reactions can be so extreme that there is doubling in the size of the affected limb, the eyes swell that they shut, and the affected area is hard to the touch and is hot. The swelling can also be painful. In extreme cases, the bite can lead to anaphylactic shock.
Skeeter syndrome can affect people of all ages but seem to favor young children and the elderly.
Mosquito bite allergies can be treated topically to relieve itching and reduce the swelling. Antihistamines taken orally can also help.
Who is at risk?
People who work outdoors, or those who love to exercise outdoors, are at risk. Young children, as well as the elderly, are at higher risk too. Even visitors to a new place who have not yet been exposed to the mosquitoes in the area are at the same level of risk.
People with immune deficiencies such as AIDS should also stay away from mosquitoes.
Other diseases you can get from mosquitoes
- Dengue fever – This is both a painful and debilitating – and possibly life-threatening – disease. It is caused by one of four viruses simply called Dengue 1, 2, 3, and 4. Due to this, it is possible to get dengue fever 4 times. It is the number one cause of illnesses and deaths in tropical and subtropical countries. The symptoms start to show 3 to 6 days after being infected. These include sudden high fever that lasts for 2 to 7 days. Other symptoms are vomiting, severe abdominal pain, severe headaches, pain behind the eyes, difficulty breathing, nausea, skin rash, black and tarry stool, bleeding nose or gum, and a tendency to bruise easily.
- West Nile Fever – The West Nile virus is the most common mosquito-borne disease among Americans here in the United States. Among those who are infected, only 20 percent show symptoms which usually show after 3 days to two weeks of being bitten. Signs and symptoms include mild fever, body aches, headaches, diarrhea, vision loss, numbness, body rashes, swollen lymph glands, muscle weakness, and paralysis. Some people will show more severe symptoms. They may get meningitis and permanent brain damage. The patient may die when the central nervous system gets affected. People over 60 or those with medical conditions are at higher risk of getting severe symptoms. Consult a doctor immediately when these symptoms start to show.
- Yellow fever – There are no symptoms for most people who are affected by yellow fever. Those with symptoms will have a fever, chills, severe headache, body pains, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. Then a smaller percentage may have a more severe phase in a span of one day. Jaundice, high fever, dark urine, and abdominal pains will appear in more severe cases, which explains the name yellow fever. There may be bleeding in the eyes, nose, mouth, and stomach. This disease is fatal, and the death of the patient may occur after 7 to 10 days.
Having mosquitoes around you and your family is really one scary thought. This is why getting rid of them would always be a priority. Here are some tips on how to get rid of mosquitoes:
- Use plants that repel mosquitoes. Not only can these plants beautify your surroundings, but they can also turn away mosquitoes. Plants like rosemary and basil are not only great ingredients to your recipes, they also repel mosquitoes and other insects.
- Wear long sleeves and long pants when going outdoors. This will lessen exposed skin that the mosquitoes can bite.
- Use a mosquito repellent that is Environmental Protection Agency approved and uses the active ingredient DEET for added protection.
- Remove standing water and old items that can hold water. Female adult mosquitoes look for stagnant water to lay their eggs. Throw away old items like old tires, old plastic containers, used cans, pet and animal watering containers, old gutters, and similar items. Cover water storage barrels. Check the water in flower vases and clean it at least once a week.
- Inside the bedroom, use a mosquito net for protection while you sleep.
- Since mosquitoes are clumsy fliers and are lightweight, use electric fans for protection. The wind from the fan will throw them off balance.
Call the professional exterminators
For the best company for killing mosquitoes in North Carolina, call Go-Forth Pest Control. Go-Forth Pest Control is a family-owned company that has a team of expert professionals who use family-friendly and pet-friendly methods, so you are assured of your family’s safety.