Toddler Contracts West Nile Virus &... Nothing Happens

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mosquitoEvery summer when the mosquitoes arrive for their annual summer feasting, the same dreadful thought arrives with them: What about West Nile virus? And every year I push the thought out of my mind because clearly the mosquitoes are winning. But when was the last time you actually heard of someone contracting West Nile Virus?

How about this toddler from Dallas: Olivia Lalicker came down with a fever around the same time her parents noticed some mosquito bites on her face and tested positive for West Nile. It turns out the fever wasn't even related to the virus, though. In fact, she didn't show any symptoms of the virus at all. Does that mean it's not really that big of a deal? Have we been worrying over nothing?

That would be swell! It's hard enough for adults to keep the mosquitoes away -- keeping your kids skeeter-free is even harder. I've always struggled with this dilemma. Spray my kid down with potentially toxic but invincible bug spray, or use the weak herbal stuff and risk West Nile? Or just give up because, man, constantly spraying your kids with stuff all summer long is a pain and you're already struggling to keep up with the sunscreen?

There are a few less-toxic bug sprays out there that I feel safe applying to a child. Bite Blocker works for us, but it's kind of sticky and smelly. Skin-So-Soft is almost as good and smells better. And then there's wearing long sleeves and pants ... a total non-solution since bugs will bite right through anything light enough to actually wear in the summer.

But apparently West Nile is not that big a deal. Who knew? Unless you have other health issues or are over 50 (i.e. not a healthy toddler), if you get the virus, you probably won't even get sick. Phew! Because I don't know about you, but even though I know the mosquitoes are hanging around for at least another month, I am SO OVER chasing down repellent-repelling kids. Aren't you?

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Do you use bug repellent on your toddler? What kind do you use?


Image via dr_relling/Flickr

in the news, toddler health


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Danielle Whitson Hall

I mix Tea Tree Oil in a spray bottle at a 1/4 ratio, oil/water & it repeals every bug & is safe also.

nonmember avatar Denise Scherer

Last summer my 18 year old niece was rushed to the hospital after she had a siezure. She had a very high fever and did not know her parents. After many days in the hospital and many tests they determined that she has West Nile Virus. Very frightening! Not everyone has the same symptoms...

Char Sisic

We use fabric softner sheets (not only do we put it in our pockets but we rub it on us before we put it in our pockets or on our belt loop)it doesn't matter if it's a new sheet or a used one it still does the job of keeping mosquitoes away.

nonmember avatar KA

From what I understand West Nile does not affect the vast majority of people who contract it. The people it affects mainly are those who have some underlying condition that causes it to get out of control.

Tara Bryant

i spent yrs living in fl with those bugs and i have 2 lil boys who spent their whole lives in fl with them bugs too one 9 other 3 and we were always outside and my car had no ac so the windows were always down and i couldn't afford bug spray so we all just had to deal with the bites i never worried about it and still don't there is no point in worrying about things we cant control like the bugs

nonmember avatar amanda

this is bull bcuz my mans second cuzzin just died from it

nonmember avatar Laura

It's fortunate that this little girl didn't get sick with WNV, but that's not the case for everyone who contracts it. 6 years ago, my sister-in-law developed severe symptoms from WNV, including losing the use of her right leg for approximately 6 months. She had 2 little ones (under 4yo) and was expecting their 3rd child when she became sick. She spent a great deal of time with neurologists and other specialists to get back on her feet (no pun intended!). To this day, she has occasional bouts of weakness with her right leg, but is doing much better. If you can find an effective and kid-friendly mosquito repellent, PLEASE use it! (Personally, I find that the Burt's Bees mosquito repellent works best for us.) What's more important: taking 5 minutes to put insect repellent on your little one(s) or battling a life-threatening illness??

nonmember avatar Anon

Um actually, most of the time that disease is a very big deal. Some people don't show signs or symptoms and they are very lucky. But since an internet blogger decided it's not a big deal, I guess the people who have died from it are overreacting.

nonmember avatar me

West Nile for the most part is just a mild, asymptomatic disease. And, yes, most people won't ever even know they have it. But the problem is that you never really know how a person, healthy or not, is going to react to it. So, yes, it is still a big concern.

Poohy... Poohy1975

Even healthy children can get VERY sick from the West Nile Virus. My daughter got it in 2006. I thought she was going to die.Before then she was a very healthy little girl. She couldn't even walk.At 8 years old she went back to crawling or scooting to get anywhere.Even then she would cry so much from the pain of moving her body that i either brought every thing to her or carried her. It was a horrible almost 2 months. I know when we get back to the states i will do everything i can to prevent it from happening again. That's the problem, no one worries about it till someone they know gets it and comes close to death.

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