Did you read about West Nile Virus?

June 09, 2009

A couple of days before the newspapers came out with a cause for new worry in the name of West Nile Virus. Many of us had not even heard of such a virus. The newspaper report was that of a crow in Illinois which was tested positive of this virus and how the virus could infect all beings through mosquito bite. Birds are the friendly carriers of the virus and the virus affects human beings only when the mosquitoes get it from the birds and finally bite us. You don’t get infected even if you come in physical contact with an infected person or through his saliva.

I thought of writing this post because I felt it was very important to know about the virus and its symptoms so that we could prevent the infection or treat it as quickly as possible. Many of us are very careless in the way we lead our lives and that accounts to a good majority of our illnesses and discomforts.

West Nile Virus, alias WNV, is the main reason for the seasonal bouts of diseases in North America that occur from summer to fall. Though potentially serious, it has no special symptoms other than a flu and can be misunderstood easily. Only one or two people out of 150 people may have its symptoms and most others show no signs of an infection. Fever, headache, body aches, nausea and vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back are the mild symptoms associated with WNV. If you notice anything like a severe headache with high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis you need to consult a doctor immediately. It is to be noted that any neurological impairment caused may not be reversible. There are no medications for this infection and mild infection will improve on its own. But medical attention is compulsory and hospitalization may be necessary. Then, professional care, intravenous fluids and medical help with breathing can be availed of  to make you feel better.

To prevent the virus, kill mosquitoes! mosquitoe repellent

Do everything you can to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bite when there is an alert of viral infection. Long sleeves and pants and insect repellents should do great. Keeping your surroundings clean without water clogging to  prevent breeding and settling mosquitoes. Netting or screening your windows and reducing activity in the open or outdoors can reduce the risk of getting infected. Your pets also need protection and care.

Also, remember not to touch a dead bird in your yard. Only your local health care can help you on what to do with it.

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