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How to Protect Seniors from West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus is a condition transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes.

West Nile Virus is a condition transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes. In some cases, the virus causes only mild symptoms like a headache and fever. However, some people get quite ill from the virus because it can cause swelling in the brain or spinal cord, which can be fatal. Older adults are among people at the greatest risk for severe cases of the virus because they often have weakened immune systems. However, there are ways you can lessen the chances of your aging relative getting West Nile Virus. 


Symptoms and Causes of West Nile Virus

Senior Care Spartanburg, SC: West Nile Virus

According to the Mayo Clinic, cases of West Nile Virus have occurred in every state except Hawaii and Alaska. The most common way for a person to get West Nile Virus is by being bitten by a mosquito that is carrying the virus. The mosquito picks up the virus when it bites an infected bird. However, people cannot catch West Nile Virus by touching an animal or a person who has the virus. When a person is bitten by an infected mosquito, symptoms appear within 2 to 14 days of the bite.  


Signs of a mild infection include: 

  • Fever. 
  • Headache. 
  • Body aches. 
  • Rash. 
  • Vomiting. 
  • Diarrhea. 
  • Fatigue. 


Signs of a more serious infection, which should receive immediate medical attention, include: 

  • High fever. 
  • Severe headache. 
  • A feeling of stiffness in the neck. 
  • Confusion. 
  • Coma. 
  • Tremors or jerking in the muscles. 
  • Seizures. 
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis. 


Preventing Infection 

The best way to prevent your aging relative from getting West Nile Virus is to protect them from being bitten by mosquitoes. Some ways to prevent mosquito bites are: 

  • Eliminate places in the senior’s yard where mosquitoes would breed, such as buckets or pools of standing water. 
  • Keep window screens in good repair so that mosquitoes cannot get into the house. 
  • Avoid going outside when mosquitoes are most active, which is at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening hours. 
  • Wear long sleeved shirts and pants to keep mosquitoes from getting to the skin. 
  • Use insect repellant. 


Senior care can help older adults to prevent West Nile Virus by assisting them with some of the steps above. Senior care providers can help your aging relative to dress in clothing that will be comfortable for the weather but still provide protection against mosquito bites. Senior care providers can also plan indoor activities for the older adult when mosquitoes are most active and take them outside when they are not. In addition, a senior care provider can help the older adult to apply insect repellant. 


If you or an aging loved one are considering hiringSenior Care in Spartanburg, SC, contactHeart of the Carolinas Home Care at 864-991-3116.  Providing Home Care Services in Greenville, Simpsonville, Greer, Anderson, Spartanburg, Mauldin, Seneca, Laurens, Charleston, Columbia and the surrounding areas. 




Edward Harrison

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