🚨 Malaria Alert in Maryland! Yes, MALARIA! Protect Yourself!


Malaria Alert in Maryland: Protect Yourself

The Maryland Department of Health has confirmed a positive case of locally acquired malaria in a Maryland resident who lives in the National Capital Region. This is the first case of locally acquired malaria in Maryland that was not related to travel in over 40 years.

This is the first case of locally acquired malaria in Maryland that was not related to travel in over 40 years. Maryland typically reports around 200 travel-related malaria cases each year, and the Maryland Department of Health investigates each case for cause and risk.

Symptoms of malaria usually appear 7 to 30 days after an infective bite and include high fever, chills, body aches, diarrhea, and vomiting. The Maryland Department of Health urges the public to take precautions against mosquito bites, and if you develop symptoms after traveling abroad, seek urgent medical care. 

*While the risk to the public for locally acquired mosquito-transmitted malaria remains very low, it is important to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions to prevent mosquito bites. One natural yet effective way to protect yourself is by using lemon eucalyptus oil, which is a natural mosquito repellent.

There are several ways to prevent mosquito bites while you are out for a walk. Here are some tips to help you avoid mosquito bites:
- Wear protective clothing: Wear a hat, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants to cover as much skin as possible. You can even treat your clothing with permethrin, a synthetic insect repellent, or purchase clothes already treated with the chemical.
- Use insect repellent: Apply insect repellent to exposed skin. Choose a repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. These active ingredients have been registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their safety and effectiveness. 
- Avoid wooded and brushy area: Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. Walk in the center of trails.

Lemon eucalyptus oil is the only plant-based active ingredient approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for use in insect repellent to prevent mosquito-carried diseases. Some popular brands that offer lemon eucalyptus sprays include Repel, Cutter, and Murphy's Naturals . These sprays can provide up to 6 hours of protection against mosquitoes .

You can purchase lemon eucalyptus sprays at most major retailers or online. To use, simply spray the repellent on exposed skin, avoiding contact with eyes, nose, and mouth. Reapply as needed, following the instructions on the product label.

Can mosquitoes bite you through your clothes? Yes, mosquitoes can bite through clothing, but it depends on the type of fabric and how tightly it is woven. Mosquitoes have sharp and elongated mouthparts called proboscis that can pierce lightweight fabrics such as gauze or spandex as easily as they do skin. Thick, heavy, loose-fitting items and materials like denim, canvas, and wool provide a more difficult barrier for mosquitoes to penetrate. Long-sleeved shirts and pants are also effective in preventing mosquito bites. It is recommended to wear light-colored clothing when possible since mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors.  Socks and closed-toe shoes also prevent bites on the feet and ankles.  Synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester trap heat and moisture, making it easier for mosquitoes to detect human skin and bite through. Natural fibers like cotton and linen are more effective. 

According to a study led by researchers at the University of Washington, wearing colors like red, orange, black, and cyan attracts mosquitoes to your body. On the other hand, wearing clothing composed of colors including green, purple, blue, and white may actually deter different species of mosquitoes. Dark colors seem to attract mosquitoes more than other colors because they trap heat and make people sweat more, especially when combined with exercise. Mosquitoes love the excess CO2 released when you perspire.  If you want to avoid mosquito bites, try wearing lighter, more subdued hues such as white, beige, khaki, pastel yellow, and even soft gray.  These colors will also keep you cooler on a warm day. 
There are several natural ingredients that can be used to repel mosquitoes. Some of the most effective natural mosquito repellents include:
- Lemon eucalyptus oil:  This is one of the more well-known natural repellents and has been used since the 1940s. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have approved eucalyptus oil as an effective ingredient in mosquito repellent. 
- Lavender: Crushed lavender flowers produce a fragrance and oil that can repel mosquitoes. Lavender has analgesic, antifungal, and antiseptic qualities, which means that in addition to preventing mosquito bites, it can calm and soothe the skin. 
- Cinnamon oil: Cinnamon oil can kill off mosquito eggs and also act as a repellent against adult mosquitoes, most notably the Asian tiger mosquito. 
- Citronella: Citronella is a well-known mosquito repellent. In a dose by dose comparison, citronella is initially as effective as DEET. However, citronella oil evaporates quickly, meaning that it is only effective for a short time. 

You can create your own natural mosquito repellent by mixing one of these essential oils with a carrier oil such as sunflower oil or witch hazel. For example, you can create a mixture with 1 part lemon eucalyptus oil to 10 parts sunflower oil or witch hazel. You can also grow plants such as lavender or citronella in your garden or in indoor planters to help repel mosquitoes.

Pets: dogs typically don’t get malaria but can get a whole hosts of other related diseases. For pets, Use insect repellent: Speak to your vet about choosing a dog-friendly mosquito repellent. Some repellents come in spray form and must be applied to your dog before every outing (and reapplied every few hours), while other convenient options include monthly spot-on treatments. Never use a mosquito repellent meant for humans — many contain ingredients that are safe for people but extremely dangerous for pets

Malaria can make you very sick. Protect yourself from mosquitoes while outside. 

Source: Conversation with Bing, 8/19/2023
Image source: Google images 

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