Protect yourself from nature's most dangerous animal

Thursday, September 7, 2017

You’ve probably seen the Internet quiz on the topic, but in case you haven’t, answer this question: What’s the most dangerous animal?

The cape buffalo? Pufferfish? Black mamba snake?

They’re all dangerous, and we don’t recommend tangling with any of them.

Cable television celebrates shark week, and we recently saw a photo of a hunter mauled by a grizzly bear in Montana, requiring 90 stitches in his head to close the wound.

Not counting people themselves as dangerous animals, it’s the lowly mosquito that claims the most human lives each year.

They live on every continent except Antarctica, and thanks to diseases they carry such as malaria, Chikungunya, encephalitis, elephantiasis, yellow fever, dengue fever, West Nile and Zika virus, 700 million people are sickened and about 725,000 people die every year thanks to mosquitos.

The World Health Organization notes that more than half of the human population is at risk of mosquito-borne illnesses, and Southwest Nebraska is not immune.

The Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department reported this week that the first probable human case of West Nile Virus was reported in the agency’s nine-county health district.

Don’t forget to continue to take preventative measures as you venture out in the comfortable fall weather, said Melissa Propp, RN, surveillance nurse at SWNPHD.

Some of the ways to protect your self from mosquito bites include:

* Wear your insect repellent with DEET. Remember sunscreen first then insect repellent.

* Check around your home for any standing water, including your gutters

* Repair any holes in screens and doors

* Wear your long sleeves and pants during the hours of dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

* Always read the directions for any insect or sunscreen product to be sure it is being used correctly

The incubation time or the development of symptoms for West Nile Virus takes 3-14 days. Approximately 80 percent of all people who become infected with West Nile Virus will not experience any symptoms. Symptoms people may experience are fever, headache, body aches, joint pain, rash, vomiting, and diarrhea.

There is no treatment for West Nile Virus. The best way to avoid becoming sick is prevention.

More information on West Nile Virus may be found at SWNPHD’s web site www.swhealth.ne.gov or call: McCook office 308-345-4223; Imperial office 308-882-4269. SWNPHD is located at 404 West 10th Street – one block north of Arby’s in McCook or 501 South Broadway (west entrance) Imperial. Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department serves Chase, Dundy, Frontier, Furnas, Hayes, Hitchcock, Keith, Perkins and Red Willow counties. SWNPHD’s social media includes Facebook.com/swnphd and Twitter@swpublichealth.

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