News flash in the Friday, July 5th, 2013, National Post as the headline states: “Across the country, wet, warm weather has created perfect breeding conditions – MOSQUITO MASSACRE.”
With all the mosquitoes this year in Calgary, you might wonder if we will soon be hearing about West Nile Virus (WNV) in the media. So far, if you check the Public Health Agency of Canada website, there are no reported cases. It’s a bit early in the summer, mind you. Looking at the PHAC site, most of the activity is later in the summer.
But with the heavy rains, flooding, standing water, and now the incredible heat here in Alberta (Calgary and High River particularly), it does make me wonder if there will be an increase in the incidence of West Nile Virus. More mozzies, more likelihood?
The good news for those of you who have started building your home/travel kit, is that you might already have some great remedies at your fingertips should someone in your circle get West Nile! With no vaccine for WNV, common sense prevention and homeopathy will go a long way in keeping you and your loved ones healthy this summer.
WHAT IS WEST NILE VIRUS?
West Nile Virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne disease. The mosquito picks up the virus from infected birds mostly (although some other animals, too), and then when Madame Mozzie (the mozzies that bite are always females) dines on human blood, the virus is transmitted from the mozzie to the human.
In 80% of people infected with the virus, there are no symptoms of WNV whatsoever. Your magnificent immune system is at work passively, and you might never know that you had been exposed to the virus at all.
For 20% of the people who get infected with the virus, within 2-15 days they may develop symptoms of:
- Muscle pain or aches
- Loss of appetite
Kind of sounds like ‘flu’ doesn’t it, except for the rash bit?
Of those 20%, only 1% will develop symptoms that will affect the central nervous system. Those within the 1% (1 out of 150 people approximately) usually have some kind of immune suppressed system whether from drugs or disease (HIV, alcoholism, cancer, diabetes, or heart disease). The very young and the elderly can also be more at risk.
What are some of the diseases that can affect the central nervous system?
The following can occur:
- West Nile Encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain,
- West Nile Meningitis, which is an inflammation of the protective linings between the skull and the brain and spinal cord,
- Or a combination of both meningitis and encephalitis (West Nile meningoencephalitis),
- and West Nile poliomyelitis — spinal cord inflammation, which is a syndrome similar to polio which may cause paralysis.
Symptoms of a more severe case of WNV are:
- High fever
- Neck stiffness
- Convulsions or seizures
- Extreme swelling of infection at the site of a mosquito bite
- Sudden sensitivity to light or an inability to do routine tasks
At this point you are definitely on the way to the hospital, but you can give a well-indicated homeopathic remedy en route. Sometimes with a homeopathic remedy, you may find the person recovers well and you may never know what further complications may have been prevented. But the hospital is where you want to be if the symptoms are this severe.
A blood test is given to determine if the person does, in fact, have WNV. At the hospital, patients are given IV (intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration) and breathing support, if needed, especially if the muscles of breathing are involved (polio-like paralysis).
ONCE BITTEN, TWICE SHY
As the saying goes… “When something or someone has hurt you once, you tend to avoid that thing or person.” So for sure you can avoid mosquitoes after the fact, but once bitten by the mozzie bug, what to do? And what to do especially if you get more than just an annoying, itching, swelling bite? What if you do get a high fever, headache, muscle aches, etc.? Read on.
You will likely have most of these recommended remedies in your kit already. Isn’t it great to know how much great work you can do with homeopathy whatever the name of the viral illness? As long as the symptom picture and the remedy picture are similar, chances are very good that you will head off a potentially serious illness like WNV with a well-chosen remedy.
Please remember, though, if you have not found the most similar remedy, check in with your homeopath, and if the symptoms are continuing or getting more severe, you really need to go to see your family physician or to a hospital.
Here is your handout for this week. Enjoy!
P.S. The good folks at Xerion Homoeopathie have created a delightful video on the creation of Mozi-Q. (Only three minutes watching time and very fun.) This product is worth trying if you are looking for a safe alternative to bug bite prevention this summer. And while you are at Xerion to pick up your Mozi-Q, remember to get the rest of your homeopathic remedies for your summer home/travel kit!