Moquitoes may cause more than bites this yearBy Veita Bland, M.D. / April 21, 2016
Those wonderful days of summer are now so very close. Can you see those wonderful days out in the sun, sitting out on the deck enjoying the backyard with that homemade glass of lemonade or tea in your hand? Do you want to go out right now and work in the yard on those beautiful flowers? Don’t forget about that fire pit some of you have. Think of the wonderful conversations that take place out there in the summer and fall.
Remember those wonderful barbeques? What about that secret sauce that was handed down in the family that taste and smells so much like a commercial brand we all know?
Well, hold the horses; this year is going to be a little different. In the midst of our fantasy, we must remember about those pesky little mosquitoes trying to invade each and every gathering we have. We must find ways to uninvite them to the party. This year will be a little different.
As of this date, we have not seen the Zika virus spread via a home grown mosquito here in the states, but we have to be prepared.
It has been well documented that the Zika virus is particularly dangerous for the development of the fetus. Microcephaly, that small head we see in the news reports, comes with diminished mental abilities, vision problems and other neurological problems. At this point there are no vaccines ready to prevent this. All pregnant women must be aware and in fact all women of child bearing age who are sexually active and are not using contraception of any kind should be aware.
Using an insect repellant is going to be a must for pregnant women this year. They are safe to useduring pregnancy and they all seem to work. Understand that the higher concentrations do not work better, however they will last longer. DEET is the gold standard. A product that contains 10 percent DEET will last two to three hours, while a product that contains 20 percent DEET will last around three to five hours and a product that has 30 percent DEET will last five to six hours. Reapply accordingly as your exposure dictates.
There are other alternatives to DEET. Picaridin will work and it does not have the oily feel or the possibility of damaging fabrics. Oil of lemon eucalyptus will also work. Use Permethrin, it can be sprayed on clothing and outdoor gear.
I would not recommend combination products that may have sun screen and insect repellant. The sunscreen component has to be applied more often.
Also be leery of relying on unproven repellants such as ultrasound devices, garlic or vitamin B1 preparations. Now is not the time to be experimenting. Protect yourself and your children. DEET is safe for kids over two months of age.
There are still several unknowns with the Zika virus. Our scientists are busy at work trying to figure it all out. I worry about what other problems this virus has in store for us.
To this end, we will most likely be using a lot of insect repellents this year. Is it too late to buy stock in these companies?
Veita Bland is a board certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Email Dr. Bland at firstname.lastname@example.org.