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5 Common Illnesses from Bug Bites and How to Prevent Them

by Hanson Medical Systems


Diseases are a real threat in today’s world. There are such a large number of illnesses on top of a plethora of ways to contract them. One of the most common ways of getting an illness is through a simple bug bite. Insect bites are known to cause some common and also serious illnesses. Be sure to speak with your healthcare consultant or provider for additional information on these illnesses. Point of care diagnostics, healthcare consulting, and health fairs may be available to you. The first four viruses listed here are spread by mosquito bites. Here is a preview of some of these illnesses and how you can avoid them.


Zika Virus

Awareness of the Zika Virus has exploded over the last few years, with many high profile cases in the United States and Central America. Zika can cause pregnant women to have children with birth defects. The most common birth defects associated with Zika is Microcephaly. Microcephaly is a condition in which a child is born with an elongated head. It is also associated with learning disabilities and developmental issues later in life. The Center for Disease Control recently released statements advising pregnant women to avoid travel to areas with known Zika problems.


Dengue Virus

People can come into contact with the Dengue Virus when traveling to the tropics and subtropics. That being said, just less than half of the world’s population lives in an area at risk for Dengue. Some people that are infected with Dengue will feel joint and muscle pain, headaches, pain behind the eyes, and in some cases, a rash. These symptoms can be life threatening.  


Chikungunya Virus

Although the Chikungunya Virus is not common in the United States, outbreaks have occurred in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as Europe, Africa, and Asia. People should be aware of this while traveling outside their country. Symptoms of Chikungunya include headache, high fever, swelling, rash, and joint pain.


West Nile Virus

As stated above, the West Nile Virus is said to originate from birds to people through mosquito bites. It can also be transferred through transplants and blood transfusions. Pregnant women can transmit the virus to the fetus, causing severe side effects. While some people with West Nile report no symptoms, others experience nausea, vomiting, and body aches, in addition to muscle weakness, confusion, and loss of consciousness.

Lyme Disease

Most commonly attributed to tick bites, Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection that will start out as a rash and fever. It will progress into severe headaches accompanied by joint pain. Even worse, swelling in the brain and spinal cord can lead to erratic or abnormal behaviors. Lyme Disease can be diagnosed with a blood test and treated with antibiotics such as tetracycline.


How to Prevent Illnesses from Bug Bites

After reading about these common illnesses, no doubt you are wondering how to prevent them.

You can start by wearing long sleeved clothing when you are outdoors. As we all know, it’s not very comfortable to wear a lot of layers when it’s hot outside, but if you are going to be around insects, you will be glad that you did.  

A second way to prevent insect bites is by using bug spray with DEET. It’s that simple. Spray this insect repellant around the parts of the skin that bugs can reach. For example, arms, legs, and feet are popular areas for insect bites. This spray (or repellent) will deter bugs from landing on you. You can also use large citrus candles to repel insects if you are outside and want to rid bugs from a certain area.

And lastly, if you do not want to take any chances of getting any type of insect bite – stay inside. Many pregnant women and others who cannot use insect repellant or take medicine simply stay away from the outdoors when there are bugs around. Also, if you are planning to travel outside of the country, pick a safe destination. For example, do not go to Central America if you do not want to be around the Zika virus, as your chance of being infected is greater.

Be sure to participate in your health and wellness program to find out more about common illnesses and ways to prevent them. The employee wellness programs and community health fairs are always good resources.

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