Mosquito bites can be far more than just an itchy nuisance. Many diseases can be spread through those bites, some of which can have serious consequences. One such disease is yellow fever. Not all mosquitos in all areas carry the disease. Instead, it’s more commonly found in parts of sub-saharan Africa, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.
If you’re going to be travelling or working in any of these regions, whether you’re in a rural or urban area, it’s important to take precautions against mosquito bites so you don’t get yellow fever.
Symptoms of Yellow Fever
Once infected, the incubation period of yellow fever is around 3-6 days. At this point a person will start to become symptomatic. Symptoms can include:
- Light sensitivity
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle pain
Because the symptoms of yellow fever are similar to other illnesses like the flu, many people may not realise they have contracted it. If you are at risk of yellow fever and start experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical help right away. There is no cure for yellow fever, but medical treatments can help prevent the disease from progressing.
Approximately 1 in 4 people who go untreated become severely ill. Advanced stages of yellow fever can cause:
- Vomiting blood
- Severe stomach cramps
- High grade fever
- Kidney failure
- Blood coming out of the eyes, nose, ears, and mouth
Up to half of people who experience these symptoms will not survive the infection.
Preventing Yellow Fever
Covering your skin is essential to preventing mosquito bites. Wear long sleeves and pants, closed toe shoes, and hats. Spray any exposed skin with mosquito repellant. Indoors, make sure your doors and windows are closed or have intact screens. Sleeping under a mosquito net should protect you during the vulnerable hours you’re sleeping.
However, the most effective way to prevent yellow fever is through yellow fever vaccination. Within just 10 days of getting the vaccine, it is up to 80% effective. After 30 days it is 99% effective against infection. You should still take steps to prevent mosquito bites after you’re vaccinated.
Yellow fever vaccinations are generally only available privately. Touchwood Pharmacy’s yellow fever clinic in Northolt and Ramsgate can provide you with the protection you need abroad. You can also get the yellow fever vaccination through our yellow fever clinics in Streatham and Walsall.