Why you should avoid mosquito bites

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | General Health | Sunday, August 02, 2015 - 04:34 AM

protect yourself against mosquitoesNothing can ruin you summer nights more than getting bit by mosquitoes. Not only do they leave your skin itchy and irritated, but mosquito bites can carry some serious illnesses. If up until now you’ve accepted them as inevitable, you may want to reconsider and work harder to avoid bites from those pesky insects as they can make you sick. Although the typical American mosquito is simply bothersome, if you find yourself traveling, foreign mosquitoes pack more than just a bite.

Here are some illnesses which you can get from mosquito bites.

4 illnesses linked with mosquito bites

Dengue fever

dengue feverIf you find yourself in South America or the tropics, beware of their mosquitoes as they can pass on Dengue fever. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that nearly 22,000 people die annually from Dengue fever.

Symptoms of Dengue fever include rash, headache, fever and if complications arise, even death. As of yet there is no cure for Dengue fever so protection and avoidance are your best bets.

West Nile virus

west nile virusThis is a mosquito-related illness, which hits close to home (currently there are cases documented in the U.S.). Although these cases are rare, some people who get West Nile virus die from it. West Nile can cause encephalitis and meningitis-like conditions, which cause swelling of the tissue surrounding the spinal cord and brain.

There is no immunization so once again avoid getting bitten.

Yellow fever

yellow feverIn the U.S. there is a vaccine for yellow fever, so cases are uncommon. But if you’re traveling internationally, yellow fever can be picked up in South America and Africa.

Symptoms include fever, chills, headache and muscle aches. Yellow fever causes 30,000 deaths annually, according to the World Health Organization.

If you’re a traveler ensure you’re getting a booster shot for yellow fever.


malariaAlthough not a threat in the U.S., malaria remains a prevalent problem in Africa. The CDC reports that 1,500 traveling Americans catch malaria annually. A parasite, which infects mosquitoes, is what causes malaria and symptoms are similar to that of the flu.

Although mosquito-related illnesses are not a large threat in the U.S., it’s still important to stay informed, especially if you’re a traveler. Keep up to date about new vaccines and treatments.

Even at home it’s important to dress accordingly and use a bug spray to ward off mosquitoes. Being itchy can put a damper on your summer days.

Related Reading:

Factors that increase your risk of mosquito bites

You itch, your skin turns red, and to ward off the bugs you’re swatting your arms around like a bird in flight. It’s enough to drive you mad and keep you indoors. But if you’ve ever wondered why you get bit more than someone else, consider these factors…Continue reading…

More West Nile infected mosquitoes found in Chicago

Chicago health authorities have stepped up their battle against West Nile virus after a batch of infected mosquitos tested positive in the area. Continue reading…


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