Zika is getting lots of attention—with the Olympics coming up and travel up and down the Americas all year long, it’s only a matter of time until the weather is warm enough for mosquitoes to come out, and then Zika will be here. Will it only be in tropical climates (bad enough) or has it branched out to a more spread out mosquito species?
But there are other mosquito-borne illnesses to watch out for. All of them, including Zika, have the general symptoms of quick, painful, and treatable only with rest and fluids, since they’re virals. While Zika is mild for most people, Dengue Fever is less so, and Chik-V and Yellow Fever are more painful yet.
And all are spreading—Hawaii’s big island is fighting tooth and nail to get rid of Dengue Fever right now. (It won’t be a statewide emergency unless other islands are affected or one of the other diseases makes it to the island). It started with a small outbreak from a small cluster of mosquitoes you had to hike to, and is now everywhere).
If you’re thinking about a tropical vacation this year, seriously reconsider.
-Mosquito season is dependent on temperature. So while it might be short/summer only where you live, it lasts much, much longer in warmer climates.
-DEET, long sleeves/pants, and staying indoors at sunrise/sunset are the best ways to avoid getting bit (although it probably changes how you pictured your beach vacation).
-Places like Hawaii and Brazil have lots of nooks and crannies that are perfect for mosquitoes to breed, and that make it hard to 100% eradicate them. And there’s all that moisture, making it easier for water to pool. This will be a long fight without drastic measures.
-If you get sick, bunker down and rest. All you can do is support your immune system and make sure that you’re being monitored. Although most people get better quickly, the viruses all carry a risk of complication. For Dengue Fever, that’s Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, which can be deadly.
Still bent on travel? Don’t leave without extra immune support, bug spray, and lightweight but fully covering clothing.
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