Welcome to another installment of the Get Ready Mailbag, when we take time to answer questions sent our way by readers like you. Got a question you want answered? Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org today!
Q. I keep hearing about dengue fever and West Nile in the news. Since I live in an area with lots of mosquitoes, are these diseases that I need to be worried about?
A. When you live in an area with mosquitoes, you should always take precautions to keep yourself safe.
Right now, dengue fever is still found mostly in the tropics and subtropics. It isn't a major threat to the United States, although it has already become more common in areas along the U.S. – Mexico border. And there is concern that with our warming climate dengue will spread as mosquito populations grow and their range expands.
West Nile virus is an issue that we're already facing in the United States. Since the virus was first recognized in New York City in 1999, it has spread rapidly across the United States. Last year, human cases were reported in 43 states.
However, there are several things you can do to protect yourself from any mosquito-borne disease. Try to avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. Wear long sleeves and pants whenever possible, and use insect repellent. You can also try to limit the number of mosquitoes around your home by making sure you don't have any standing water in which they can lay eggs and breed.
Check out our recent post to learn more about West Nile virus and preventing mosquito bites.
Taking these steps will go a long away to keeping you safe!