Many of us in North America think of mosquitoes and ticks as little more than pesky biters. We're always sure to bring along a can of repellent when we go camping—maybe even a citronella candle—but if we come home with a bite or two, potential disease hardly crosses our minds. That's because we live in a climate that puts us less at risk for vector-borne diseases. However, the population at risk is massive: more than 50% of the world's population faces the possibility of contracting diseases like malaria and dengue. On World Health Day, the World Health Organization shifts our awareness to vector-borne diseases, how they can be prevented, and what each of us needs to know in order to protect our immune systems.

What Are Vectors and Vector-Borne Diseases?

Vectors are small organisms, including mosquitoes, ticks, sandflies, and freshwater snails, that play an active role in the spread of serious diseases. These diseases kill more than one million people every year and include:

  • Malaria

  • Dengue

  • Lyme disease

  • Yellow fever

  • Leishmaniasis

  • Japanese encephalitis

  • African trypanosomiasis

  • West Nile virus

  • Chagas Disease

Who's At Risk?

Certain areas are flush with the bugs that can be responsible for vector-borne diseases. These areas tend to be tropical. In Africa, 90% of the world's reported cases of malaria can be found, the vast majority in children younger than five years old. In Asia, three billion people are put at risk for Japanese encephalitis yearly. Dengue hemorrhagic fever has infested all major cities and tourist destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean, and in the Western Pacific, nearly 95 million people face the possibility of contracting malaria.

Of these populations, certain groups in greater jeopardy than others:

  • Infants

  • Children under five years of age

  • Pregnant women

  • People with HIV/AIDS

  • Mobile populations

  • Travelers

Fortunately, simple measures can protect you and your family from contracting these diseases, no matter where you live or travel.

How to Prevent Malaria, Dengue, and Other Vector-Borne Diseases

  1. Strengthen your immune system. A properly nutrified body is better equipped to fend off disease. Strengthen your immune system naturally by eating plenty of raw, whole vegetables and fruits and by adding Royal Velvet to your daily regimen, ensuring that every cell of your body is given the nutrients needed to fight bacteria and viruses.

  2. Install window screens. These are imperative especially if you live in a tropical environment. Insect-repelling screens are the most effective way to keep possible disease-carrying bugs out of your home.

  3. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. If you live in or plan on traveling to a tropical area, shorts and sleeveless shirts may be your first thought for outerwear. Think twice! The more skin you cover, the better protected you'll be against bites. Opt for lightweight, light-colored trousers and tops that cover your arms and legs.

  4. Use insect repellent. Most popular brands are safe for children and infants over two months old.

  5. Install insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs). A double-whammy for fending off bugs in the night, bed nets treated with insecticide allow you to sleep soundly in endemic regions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ITNs have been shown to reduce death rates for children under 5 years of age by about 20%.

  6. Get rid of stagnant water. Still water can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other vectors. Get rid of any stagnant water around your home to further prevent infection.

By following these simple steps for skin protection, vaccinations, and fueling your immune system with Royal Velvet, you can greatly reduce your risk for vector-borne diseases. Celebrate World Health Day by incorporating these steps into your life today.

Image Source:

Original Source: