West Nile Virus is here, again, and is posing a risk to seniors’ care during the hot summer months and well into September. This disease, which is spread by mosquitos, puts even the healthiest senior at home at risk for serious illness and possibly even death. Understanding the disease and how to protect against it is vital for everyone, this year. Talk to your loved one’s in-home care providers to discuss how your senior is protected.
Many people will be infected with this disease this summer and not know it. Younger people with a strong immune system might be able to fight it off and never experience symptoms. Others will experience symptoms that are similar to the flu, including:
- Stomach upset or nausea
- Headaches or dizziness
- Achy body
These symptoms typically last for up to a week. In more serious cases, the symptoms do not disappear, and begin to cause confusion, high fevers, muscle weakness or numbness, and even paralysis.
Protection Against West Nile
The best way to protect seniors against the risk of West Nile is to take proper precautions against mosquito bites. A person can use mosquito repellent when outdoors; wear protective clothing, including long sleeves and long pants, especially at dusk; or simply avoid being outdoors during dawn or dusk, when mosquitoes are the most rampant.
In addition, there are a few precautions that everyone should take around their home, starting with repairing any screens or doors that have holes that could allow mosquitos access inside the home. All standing water near the home should also be removed. This includes water in old flower pots, bird baths or any other containers that are near your home, collecting water, as these pests gravitate toward any type of water.