Do You Have West Nile Virus?

July 17, 2014

Mosquito BiteMosquitoes find some people to be super yummy treats, and others they leave alone; some people react to bites with the biggest, itchiest bumps imaginable, others may not notice the bite. Whether you know you’ve been bit or aren’t sure, you should be on the lookout for West Nile virus. There’s a delayed onset of symptoms for most people, so we are only just entering the part of the summer for diagnoses—and identifying people who’ve get the virus will continue into fall.

Last year, every continental state but Washington reported cases of West Nile virus. This year we are just beginning to see confirmed cases—but what’s concerning is that so far, most cases have been severe (when the virus infects the brain).

How do you know if you have West Nile?

Do you have an unexplained symptoms of illness? Maybe you’ve take some extra aspirin for an extra headache? Or you’ve been managing back pain a bit more than usual? Perhaps you’ve needed an extra cup of coffee to fight fatigue?

These could all be signs of West Nile. Most people don’t experience enough symptoms to notice, but thousands will be infected this summer, and a few will experience lasting symptoms without fast treatment.

There’s no specific treatment of West Nile virus: if you think you have symptoms, just take better care of yourself, and be sure to support your immune system. (As with most diseases, the people who experience the worst symptoms will be those with the weakest immune systems).

There’s still time for prevention: avoid being outside at dusk and dawn, still water, and use mosquito repellent when you’re out hiking or camping.

Have you ever had West Nile? How did it go for you?

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