Summertime usually means “vacation time”– but experts say that taking a trip to the Caribbean might not be the best idea.
That’s because, if you’re headed to the Caribbean islands, it’s not just your sunscreen you should remember, but definitely your bug spray, too.
That’s because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believe there’s a new problem with an old mosquito-based illness called chikungunya, which spreads when an aedes mosquito bites a person whose already infected with the disease and when that same mosquito finds someone without the disease, well, then it’s fully unleashed, explains Amesh Adalja, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at the University of Pittsburgh.
Chikungunya often comes with a fever, rash, and bad aches and pains.
“Quite literally, chikungunya means to be doubled over in pain,” Dr. Adalja continues. “It gets its name because the aches and pains that people get from the illness cause them to be doubled over in pain.”
While there’s no cure or vaccine for the disease yet, the disease hasn’t caused any recorded fatalities. “Some people have reported a prolonged course of arthritis from the muscles aches and pains, and it can definitely affect the very old and the very young differently, but we have yet to really see a fatal course,” Adalja says.
Though there hasn’t been a local outbreak of this new disease in the U.S., Dr. Adalja warns people to be vigilant about protection. Also, healthcare professionals should keep tab on the disease and its symptoms so people afflicted with it can be treated as quickly as possible.
If you’re looking for some ways to properly repel the pesky buggers, the Environmental Working Group examined bug repellents and figured out the best (and worst) ways to protect yourself particularly if you’re going somewhere with known bug-borne illnesses!
Always remember to consult your physician or chiropractor before taking any health advice.
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