You’re slowly creeping through the forest, watching out for danger as you go, all you want is to get home safely, then all of a sudden, it gets you! No not a bear, or wolf, a mosquito! Most people are scared of big, scary animals like bears and wolfs when walking through the forest, but, did you know that it’s mosquitoes that kill the most humans. Yep, you heard me right, mosquitos. These tiny but dangerous animals kill approximately 725 000 humans a year. Yet people seem to have horrible fears of sharks when they’re not even in the water. Sharks kill approximately 10 people a year, so someone made a show dedicating a whole week to them. Now, don’t get me wrong, not every mosquito you see is going to kill you. First of all, male mosquitoes don’t even bite you, only the females bite you. Both female and male eat fruit and nectar, but females also need blood to help their eggs develop. The mosquito also won’t kill you if it doesn’t carry a disease, and even the ones that do carry disease won’t always kill you. There is no way to know what percentage of mosquitos carry disease, but the number wouldn’t be too high. The main disease is malaria. Malaria infects just under 200 million people a year, and almost half of the world is at risk of malaria every day. Malaria kills approximately 600 000 humans per year. That’s 83% of the people killed a year by mosquitoes. Even though Malaria is very deadly, most people who are infected survive. However, they may still experience illness. Mosquitos get Malaria by biting someone that is infected, or an animal that has it. Usually mosquitos get it from birds. You’ll know if you have Malaria if you have any of these symptoms: fever, nausea, abnormal sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and more. Some other diseases are: the zika virus, yellow fever, dengue fever, and encephalitis. These are not as common as malaria, but in certain cases can be as bad. There is no vaccine for any serious disease related to mosquitoes. However, there are still ways to prevent getting these diseases. When going somewhere that may have mosquitoes containing disease, see your health care provider and they can give you medication. Wearing bug spray or insect repellant is also a great way to prevent bites. DEET is a chemical in bug spray that works well, but is strong and can be cancerous. So, I suggest using spray that has a low DEET percentage, or completely natural ingredients. Another good way to prevent bites is to wear clothing that covers all of your skin. Thick clothing works best because sometimes they will bite you through your thin clothes. Basically, anything that prevents mosquito bites will work. It is also important to remember when and where mosquitoes are the out the most. They tend to like to stay in forests and heavily treed areas, so try to stay away from that as much as possible. They hate wind as it can very easily blow them away, so they come out early in the morning and at night when it is not as windy. Even though I’ve told you some dangerous things about mosquitoes, don’t just stay inside forever because you think a mosquito might kill you. Most of these diseases don’t even exist in Canada. However, if anyone ever makes fun of you for swatting at a mosquito or smacking them off of your legs, just remember that they are considered to be the deadliest animal on the face of the Earth.
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