The recent heavy rainfall and floods in some parts of Australia have created ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
This in turn means that we can expect to see an increase in diseases spread by mosquitoes.
In this article, we’ll explain about mosquitoes and diseases and the symptoms you need to look out for. You’ll also find out how to keep mosquitoes away and prevent being bitten.
The link between heavy rainfall and mosquitoes
First, we’re going to explain the link between heavy rainfall and the increase in mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes need water to lay their eggs in, and the stagnant water that follows heavy rainfall provides the perfect breeding ground.
Before the female mosquito lays her eggs, she will bite humans or animals to feed off in the protein in their blood that helps her produce her eggs.
Then she will deposit up to 300 eggs at a time in a suitable place, which is often stagnant water. From here, they hatch quickly and develop into larvae and then pupae, the next stage in their development.
After a couple of days to a week at this stage, the adult mosquito will emerge from the water and the life cycle starts again.
Diseases spread by mosquitoes
Female mosquitoes spread diseases when they travel from human to human (or animal), biting and feeding off their blood.
They can pick up infections as they do this, spreading them to their next target although they are not affected themselves.
These are some of the diseases spread by mosquitoes that have been detected in Australia in recent years:
Most people who get infected with Japanese encephalitis do not have any symptoms. But those who do may experience serious illness.
- Stiff neck
There is no cure for Japanese encephalitis, but you can relieve symptoms such as fever with over-the-counter medication and cooling products.
If you experience severe illness, you will be treated in hospital.
Ross River virus
This virus occurs throughout Australia but is more common in the tropical areas of Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
- Aches and pains
- A rash
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Joint swelling and pain
There is no specific treatment, but you can use anti-inflammatory medication to help with the joint pain. You should also keep an eye on your temperature with an easy-to-use thermometer.
Barmah Forest virus
This virus is only found in Australia and occurs in most regions.
- Joint pain, which may last several months
- A rash
- Swollen lymph glands
Treatment is about managing your symptoms and resting.
Dengue fever is quite rare in Australia, although it can be found in North Queensland. It feels similar to a severe bout of flu.
- Muscle and joint pain
- Pain behind the eyes
- A rash
- Nausea and vomiting
- Swollen glands
- Bleeding gums or nosebleeds
In mild cases, symptoms can be managed at home. However, severe dengue, also known as dengue haemorrhagic fever, is very serious and needs immediate medical attention.
Its symptoms include:
- Stomach pain
- Breathing difficulties
- Blood in the stools
- Persistent vomiting
- Bleeding gums or nosebleeds
- Cold or clammy skin
How to keep mosquitoes away
Because mosquitoes need water to reproduce, the key to keeping them away is to monitor water sources around your home.
This is what you can do:
- Remove any standing water or items it can collect in, such as pots and buckets.
- If you have a garden pond, put fish in it.
- Clean out water in pet dishes and bird baths often.
- Put holes in the bottom of containers that are kept outside like recycling bins.
- Keep grass cut short.
- Clean your gutters regularly.
- If you have a swimming pool, clean and chlorinate it regularly and keep the cover clean.\
To avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, you should:
- Use insect repellent on all skin not covered by clothing and reapply regularly.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers when outside.
- Use a mosquito net to avoid bites when you are sleeping.
- Know that mosquitoes are most active at sunrise and sunset.
- If you are travelling to malaria-affected areas, get advice from your doctor about preventive measures.
Live your fullest life
Fortunately, severe illness after being bitten by a mosquito is rare in Australia. But it’s good to know what to do to avoid bites and to keep mosquitoes away from your home environment.
If you think you have a mosquito-borne illness, it’s always best to consult a doctor especially if you have severe symptoms.
You may be advised to treat more mild symptoms, such as low-grade fever, at home. Have a browse through our online shop for any products that can help you do just this.
Your health and wellbeing is our priority, so all our items, such as thermometers, cooling products and more, are designed to help you live the fullest — and healthiest — life possible!