How Minnesotans Can Avoid “Warm-Weather” Diseases
This has been an awful spring with below-normal temps, rain, and even snow showers, but it is going to warm up eventually, and when the temps climb, the threat of warm weather diseases also increases.
Olmsted County Public Health Services (OCPHS) sent a press release early Wednesday morning with advice on how families here in Minnesota can avoid "warm-weather" diseases. Read more about these threats and how to protect your family and pets below.
Tips To Help Minnesotans Avoid Warm Weather Diseases
One of the most common warm-weather diseases in Minnesota is the West Nile virus. This virus is spread when mosquitoes bite infected birds and then the bugs can pass it on to people and pets.
OCPHS says, "Most people infected with the West Nile virus don’t have symptoms; however if symptoms are present, they may include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, and swollen lymph nodes. A small number of people develop the West Nile virus with severe headaches, fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, and paralysis."
OCPHS environmental health specialist Claire Knocke said, “Getting out in nature is important for our health, but we need to be smart to avoid getting bit by insects.”
Tips to protect against West Nile Virus:
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with DEET, Picardin, or lemon eucalyptus oil.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Take steps to control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors.
- Use screens on windows and doors.
- Empty containers of water to stop mosquitoes from laying eggs in or near water.
Lyme disease is another warm-weather disease here in Minnesota and is spread by ticks.
OCPHS says, "Lyme disease signs and symptoms can become present three to 30 days after a tick bite. People with Lyme disease can experience varying symptoms. A typical presentation of Lyme disease may include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes. Untreated Lyme disease can produce a wide range of symptoms, depending on the stage of infection. These include fever, rash, facial paralysis, and arthritis."
“Ticks that carry tick-borne diseases are here in Olmsted County,” Knocke said. “Enjoy the outdoors, but also know how to prevent tick bites.”
Tips to avoid tick-borne diseases:
- Walk in the middle of trails while hiking.
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents.
- Take a shower and check your body for ticks after being outdoors.
- Place your clothes in the dryer for 10 minutes on high to kill ticks on clothing.
- Don’t forget to protect your pets with tick and flea protection and Lyme disease vaccines.