Mosquito-borne illnesses on the rise: What to look for when buying repellents


(WSPA) – Within the last three weeks, a number of cases of mosquito-borne illnesses have reportedly made people in our area sick.

A woman in Greenwood got West Nile Virus, and two people in Western North Carolina got La Crosse Encephalitis.

If you’re living in the woods like Ron Resch and his pup, Lacy, you can’t be too squeamish about things, but there’s one thing this 70-year-old York man will never get used to.

“The mosquitos they be buzzing around your face, getting in your ear and they’ll aggravate you a lot,” Resch said. 

Resch’s wife creates DIY repellents of half lemon with some cloves.

“And that really does chase the bugs away,” he said.

But with the recent local cases of La Crosse Encephalitis and West Nile, Resch wonders if that’s enough.

“I, myself, would like to know how or why. What can we do about it?” he said. 

We asked Jason Blasenak, with EmergencyMD, if people should be concerned about the cases already reported.

“Well, I think you should be aware of what’s going on in that there is a higher potential than normal to develop West Nile or Encephalitis, but in the grand scheme of things it’s very very unlikely that you’re going to pick up a serious case that will lead to any of the serious side effect,” Blasenak said. 

Both viruses include a high fever and body aches, and Encephalitis can also cause seizures and brain swelling.

The old and the young are most at risk.

When it comes to repellents, you want to make sure they have one or more these active ingredients, such as DEET or oil of Eucalyptus. Only use products registered by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Now that it’s coming to my attention, I think I gotta run to the store and get some,” Resch said. 

Health experts said one reason why we may be hearing about more mosquito-borne illnesses this year in our area is because we’ve had so much rain this summer.

Removing any standing water near your house can have a big impact on reducing the mosquito population where you live.

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