Insects are not a man’s best friend – and some of them are more dangerous than others. We’re talking about mosquitoes and ticks here, but even the common housefly can transmit dangerous diseases.
And today we’re going to find out what diseases can these insects transmit to humans – in case you ever need support to convince somebody to use insect repellent as often as possible. Prevention is always better than treatment!
Mosquitoes and ticks can cause a variety of diseases, some of them potentially deadly, such as Malaria, Zika, Dengue, Lyme Disease and much more. This is why it’s best to be protected and prevent insect bites not to risk getting a disease from them.
Insect repellent sprays are widely available and we also shared a complete guide on how to make your own insect repellent that really works.
But now let’s get back to the diseases caused by the various insects that can bug us throughout the year!
Diseases Caused by Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are the most common type of insect in the world, given that they’re found on almost every continent.
That’s a big problem, because they transmit a lot of diseases around the world. It is true that most of them won’t, so don’t panic if you get bitten by one – most of use get bitten at least several times throughout a year (usually a lot more), but know that they can transmit any of the diseases below.
Although the disease has been mostly eliminated throughout the world, there are always cases still popping up. Symptoms include pain in the abdomen, fatigue, fever, nausea, vomiting, and mental confusion.
2. Yellow fever
Yellow fever is a serious disease that can lead to fatal results if left untreated. Symptoms include fever, headaches, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, and sensitivity to light.
Left untreated, the disease can progress and lead to organ failure, seizures, kidney damage and internal bleeding.
This disease is most commonly found in Africa (countries below the Sahara Desert), but also tropical South America.
3. Dengue fever
Symptoms of dengue fever include severe headaches, sudden onset of a high fever, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, skin rash for 2-5 days after the onset of the fever, and mild bleeding/easy bruising.
Left untreated, the disease could become fatal. It is a bit more widespread than Yellow fever, with over 100 countries on CDC’s list of countries with Dengue fever risk.
However, it is most common in South-Eastern Asia, the Pacific Islands and South America.
4. Chikungunya (Chick-V)
Transmitted by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, Chick-V is often associated with chronic joint pain, high fevers, joint swelling, rashes, headaches, muscle pain, nausea, and fatigue.
Death from Chick-V is rare, but the virus can remain in an infected person’s body for as long as a week and it’s definitely not pleasant.
It is most common in Africa and South-East Asia, but also in the Pacific islands and India.
5. Zika fever
Zika became known globally as a result of a catastrophic outbreak of the disease in Brazil in 2015.
One of the dangers of the Zika virus is that carriers can display no symptoms. Those who have, have very mild symptoms and confuse them with the symptoms of a common cold.
Because of this, infected persons can have the disease and not even know it. But this also means that symptoms are generally mild.
They include fever, rashes, headaches and muscle pain. However, it seems to be specifically dangerous during pregnancy, being associated with birth defects. So pregnant women and those planning to get pregnant should be extra careful.
It is more common in South America, but cases have been reported in Central America as well as the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, Africa and parts of Asia.
Overall, the most dangerous diseases caused by mosquitoes are more common in specific regions of the world as you can see above.
If you live in such a region or you’re planning to travel there, make sure to double check potential health risks coming from mosquito bite and protect yourself accordingly (ideally though a vaccine if available or by getting a strong insect repellent).
Diseases Caused by Ticks
Ticks are eerie creatures. They can be quite deceptive, latching and embedding themselves in your skin so that they look like a small wart or blemish. In most cases, you won’t even know a tick is feasting on you unless you actually see it.
However, ticks are very nasty creatures and they can transmit a series of dangerous diseases to humans. The most common diseases transmitted by ticks include:
1. Lyme disease
In this case, a rash in a bull’s-eye pattern develops, as well as flue-like symptoms. Joint pain and muscle weakness are also common symptoms.
2. Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pains, nausea, rashes on the skin, and sensitivity to light.
There are several different strains of this disease, but the most common kind is the ulceroglandular tularemia.
The symptoms include an ulcer at the site of the bite, swollen lymph glands, fever, fatigue, chills, and headaches.
The potentially harmful effects that these tiny creatures have on our bodies make the need for homemade insect repellents extremely important.
Also, if you are bitten by a tick, you should seek professional advice to remove them. If you try to do it yourself, there is the risk of the tick’s head remaining stuck in your skin, potentially causing extra problems.
It is true that in most cases, even if you are unlucky enough to contact any of the diseases transmitted by insects that I mentioned above, you won’t get seriously ill and will be able to shake off the problems with the proper medical care.
But even though in most cases we’re not talking about life-threatening problems, most of them are really unpleasant to say the least.
So your best approach is to be extra cautious and make sure that you do everything possible to protect yourself from insect bites – the easiest way being that of using insect repellent sprays and lotions.