Dr. Brian Orr talks about mosquitos and related illnesses in Interactive Health Clinic’s latest video.

What diseases do mosquitos carry?

The Zika virus is in the news right now because it stunts brain development in the fetuses of pregnant women. But if you’re not pregnant, then it poses very little health risk. Most people simply get a flu-like malaise for a day or two and then fully recover. But the risk to an unborn fetus is serious. Fortunately, there are no endemic cases of Zika in Washington State at this time. But there are other serious diseases in our region that mosquitos carry, such as west Nile virus, western equine encephalitis, and St. Louis encephalitis. All of these viruses can cause the brain to swell up, so they are quite serious.

How can I avoid getting these diseases?

The best way to protect against mosquito-borne disease is to prevent mosquito bites. You can avoid bites by making sure that windows and doors are “bug tight”, by checking screens for tears, by staying indoors from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are the most active, and by covering your skin with long sleeve shirts and pants (or wearing mosquito netting) when camping and hiking. You can also drain or dump any standing water on your property (pails, planters, tires, etc.), which will discourage mosquitos from breeding.