If you've been outside at all this summer, you've probably noticed that the mosquitoes are biting, and it's likely to get worse! Especially if you're pregnant.
According to Joseph Conlon, a medical entomologist and technical advisor to the American Mosquito Control Association, mosquito season is already bad — and West Nile Virus, which is most commonly transmitted by the pesky insects, doesn't even really kick in until late summer. Plus, studies have found that certain types of mosquitoes are more likely to snack on pregnant women.
"Pregnant women may be more attractive to mosquitoes," Conlon says. "If the pregnant female is breathing more due to carting about a bit of extra weight, then she will also be a bit more attractive to mosquitoes, because mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide." Plus, pregnant women have a warmer average body temperature, which is a cue for biting and landing, he adds.
While mosquito bites are no more dangerous to pregnant women than anyone else, you obviously don't want to come down with a mosquito-borne disease while you're pregnant (or even if you're not pregnant!). While most people infected with West Nile will have no symptoms, about 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms, according to the CDC. Less than 1% of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness.
Last year was the deadliest year on record for West Nile since it was found in the U.S., and Conlon anticipates "serious mosquito issues" this year.
So what can you do to stay safe? Here are 5 tips for keeping mosquitos away while you're pregnant:
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