Dr. Plotkin Discusses the West Nile Virus

The recent outbreak of West Nile Virus is all over the news, and is now affecting us here in Illinois, as well. Here are the facts about what’s going on, how to prevent contracting the illness by mosquito bite, what to do if you are bit, and how our office can help!

The federal Communicable Disease Center (CDC) sounded the alarm August 15th regarding an outbreak of West Nile virus. The outbreak began in the Dallas area and by 8/23, had spread to 47 states, with 1,100 reported cases, making it more widespread than ever before in the United States. The CDC has now warned that the next few weeks will be the worst, in part due to hot, dry conditions that allow the primary mosquito carrier of West Nile in this region, to thrive. There had been 21 reported human cases of West Nile in Illinois as of 8/21, and one DuPage county man has died.

Roughly 80% of people who contract this infection won’t even know they have it; their body will fight it off and they’ll never get it again. 20% suffer from a combination of high fever, headaches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or a rash, in the form of small red spots, on the chest, upper arms and hands; but only 1% develop the neuro-invasive form of the disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord and can be fatal. According to Richard Besser, MD, the time to seek immediate medical attention is if you develop confusion, a stiff neck, or weakness, which could be signs of dangerous complications. People at highest risk for severe disease are those over the age of 50, those with compromised or weakened immune systems, or those with high blood pressure and/or heart disease. Dr. Besser stresses that “there is no treatment [for West Nile]…the key here is really all about prevention”.

So how can you “fight the bite” and lower your risk? Here are some helpful tips:

  • Get rid of standing water around your home and yard. (Think even about things like pet bowls, flower pots, old tires, baby pools and toys…anything that can hold water.) Water that has stagnated for 3-4 days becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
  • Check doors and windows for tightly fitting screens. Repair any tears or openings.
  • Keep weeds and grass cut short and clear gutters of debris.
  • Cover skin with lightly colored, loose fitting clothing, when outdoors between dusk and dawn, and consider using a natural mosquito repellent with lemon eucalyptus or citronella.

What if you do get bit though?
As reported above, if bit, you are more likely to react negatively to West Nile if you have a weak immune system. This is where Wellness Concepts comes in and can help! For current, existing patients, Wellness Concepts offers options to help lower your odds of developing illness.
• We offer an immune-boosting treament which helps stimulate your body’s natural immune function and fight infection, using homeopathic remedies.
• We also offer both homeopathic oral drops or tablets which can help improve your body’s immune function naturally.


To Your Health,

Martin Plotkin, MD, MD(H), FAAOS
and the Wellness Concepts Staff

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