I like to be supportive. I like building people up. For the most part, I believe we are all in this together, and the more we cooperate, the better off we all are. I believe that worldwide cooperation is the true legacy of the internet. The global population boom was supposed to have starved us all out by now, but it hasn’t. In fact, oddly enough, the global quality of life has risen right along with the global population. That is because technology has enabled us to work together across the world to start solving some of our biggest problems. In fact, my husband has delivered a one-hour lecture on how 2007 was the year the world changed, and it is because of world cooperation. Just ask him. He’ll spend all night giving you his one-hour lecture. Ok, I’m kidding; don’t ask him. I beg you.
But since you’ve already read the title, you know the previous paragraph is only trying to soften the blow of what I’m about to say. Fine. On with it, then. No more stalling. Just get it out there. Here it is…
I still have hate. There, I said it, and I mean it. I don’t mean the “I hate dry pork chops” kind of hate. I mean deep-seated, violent hatred. If I were president for a day, I would use every weapon of mass destruction in our arsenal. I would reconvene the Manhattan Project. I would build a coalition of like-minded nations and I would rid the world of this worthless, pestilent threat once and for all. I would kill them all.
Aedes Aegypti Mosquito
Oh, stop judging. It’s not like any of you like mosquitoes either. They bite, sting, itch, fly around in clouds thick enough to kill a caribou, ruin absolutely everything, and the whole concept of sucking blood and then mingling that blood with somebody else’s blood is straight up nasty. UGH! I HATE THEM! As far as I know, they do absolutely nothing good for this planet other than serving as a food source for other animals. So, I say kill them all. The animals can eat something else. I will personally buy all animals Whataburger for a year if somebody will please kill all the mosquitoes.
Because it’s not just the caribou or the annoyance. The real problem, of course, are the diseases. Mosquitoes are tiny little machines of contagion; spreading little droplets of infected blood from one person to another without anyone having any idea it’s happening. And these diseases are bad. Zika, Dengue Fever, West Nile Virus, and Chikungunya. Yes, I know, they sound so exotic. We don’t have to worry about any of them here in Lubbock, right? Not so fast. Both Texas and Florida have reported Zika virus in the past few years (Zika map). Dozens of West Nile Virus cases were reported in Texas in 2018 (West Nile Virus map). Dengue fever? Of course, plenty of cases in the US in 2019, and the reported cases are continuous in Mexico, Central America, and South America (Dengue Fever map). And just for good measure, yes, Chikungunya has made its way here as well (Chikungunya map).
These diseases and the disgusting little virus timebombs that carry them are a serious threat. Particularly in Texas where we have an extended mosquito season. And even if we aren’t personally going to travel, almost all of us know people who are. And THAT, my friends, is how those horrible little blood-slurps really get you. So, what are we to do? It must not be feasible to simply kill them all, or somebody would have done it by now. Short of being encased in amber and helping us to resurrect some cute, cuddly velociraptors, I’m not aware of one single positive contribution that mosquitos make.
So, until the day when we can all join in The Purge 6: Mosquito Season, I asked our friends at the Texas Department of State Health Services what they would advise. Turns out, they run a whole campaign to raise awareness of mosquito-borne diseases and how to avoid them. Here is what they advise:
- Don’t give mosquitoes a biting chance. One mosquito bite can have lasting effects.
- Due to both the short- and long-term impact mosquitoes can have on humans, Texans must Declare WAR on Mosquitoes and be aware of the following prevention tips:
- Wear long sleeves and pants
- Apply EPA-approved insect repellent
- Remove standing water
- It’s important to create barriers between you and mosquitoes by covering up with lightweight, long-sleeve shirts, long pants and tall socks and applying EPA-approved insect repellent
- In addition to your clothing, keep doors and windows closed and/or install window screens.
- Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes; and we’re talking amounts as small as a tablespoon. Dump out any standing water you see.
In addition to that general advice, some people are more at risk than others. Here are some specific recommendations that may apply to you:
PREGNANT WOMEN AND WOMEN SEEKING TO BECOME PREGNANT
- One issue of particular concern for pregnant women is the Zika virus, which is spread through mosquito bites and sexual contact.
- Protect yourselves and your families from mosquito bites by taking the above advice seriously.
- Additionally, use condoms or don’t have sex for the duration of the pregnancy if you or your partner reside in or travel to an area known to have mosquito-borne diseases, and talk with your doctor about any concerns.
- People who are traveling to areas known to have mosquito-borne diseases should also take general advice very seriously while traveling, and for 21 days after returning to the United States (per the CDC).
- Men and women also should consider using condoms every time they have sex or simply not have sex while traveling.
OLDER ADULT POPULATION
- People older than 50 have the highest risk of severe disease. Take the general advice to heart.
Landscapers, athletes, and the nightly walk around the neighborhood crowd should also take the general advice seriously. Until I get my way and we all get to revel in mass mosquito death and dismemberment, then simply not getting bit is really the only safe way to go.