MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County has issued a mosquito-borne illness advisory after the first local case of dengue infection this year has been confirmed.
According to the health department, dengue “is a virus spread through mosquito bites by Aedes mosquitoes which also spread the chikungunya and Zika virus. Most people infected with dengue have mild or no symptoms. Those that do develop symptoms typically recover after about one week.”
While doctors say most people infected with dengue have mild or no symptoms, those that do develop symptoms will need to really take it easy.
“So it’s not like a cold where you’ll have a runny nose or anything like that. It’s more like a fever with a lot of body aches and the eye pain is very common. People can get a rash,” Dr. Paula Eckardt said.
Eckardt is the chief of infectious disease for the Memorial Healthcare System.
She says there can be complications, which is why it’s important to prepare and be alert.
“If you get hemorrhagic dengue, that’s when it’s dangerous,” she said. “It’s usually a self-limited disease. There’s no specific treatment for it and, you know, it will just go through the cycle of it and you’ll get better, but some people have hemorrhagic dengue.”
Health officials urge residents to take precautions to stop mosquitoes from multiplying and to protect their skin.
Common symptoms of dengue include fever and “one or more of the following symptoms: headache; eye pain (typically behind the eyes); muscle, joint, or bone pain; rash; nausea and vomiting; or unusual bleeding (nose or gum bleed, small red spots under the skin, or unusual bruising),” according to the health department.
Severe cases can result in shock, internal bleeding and even death.
Below are some tips from the DOH-Miami-Dade:
DRAIN standing water –
· Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flowerpots or any other containers where sprinkler or rainwater has collected.
· Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren’t being used.
· Empty and clean birdbaths and pet’s water bowls at least once or twice a week.
· Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
· Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.
COVER skin –
· Clothing - Wear shoes, socks, and long pants and long-sleeves. This type of protection may be necessary for people who work in areas where mosquitoes are present.
· Repellent - Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing, but not under clothing.
· Always read label directions carefully for the approved usage before you apply a repellent – Some repellents are not suitable for children.
· Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, and IR3535 are effective.
· Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.
COVER doors and windows –
- Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios to keep mosquitoes out of your house.
Additional Tips on Repellent Use
- In protecting children, read label instructions to be sure the repellent is age-appropriate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of three years. DEET is not recommended on children younger than two months old.
- Avoid applying repellents to the hands of children. Adults should apply repellent first to their own hands and then transfer it to the child’s skin and clothing.
- If additional protection is necessary, apply a permethrin repellent directly to your clothing. Again, always follow the manufacturer’s directions.
Click here for more information about which repellent is best for you.