South Texas MD Cautions Public to be Wary of Biting Insects

Morgan Montalvo

News Radio 1200 WOAI

There's a triple threat out there, already preying on South Texans. Hot, dry  conditions across the region are bringing out mosquitoes. ticks and  fleas in search of an easy meal, says Dr. Jane Siegel, a Corpus Christi  pediatrician who specializes in children's infectious diseases. 

Siegel says  these days, we often think first of mosquitoes and ticks whenever a  conversation turns to biting insects, but fleas are as much a threat as  their fellow bloodsuckers. 

She says fleas  in Texas  can carry murine typhus, a rarely fatal but nonetheless  serious malady that's often undiagnosed because of its flu-like  symptoms. 

Fears of  contracting Lyme Disease from ticks in Texas, she says, are unfounded as  the indigenous tick varieties do not carry the Lyme bacteria. Cases  reported in Texas, she adds, were contracted in other states. Mosquitoes carry a wide range of diseases, from dengue fever and  malaria to yellow fever, encephalitis and the Zika virus. 

Siegel  recommends wearing long pants when outdoors, tucking pant legs into  socks or boots and applying insect repellent to trouser legs and  footwear to keep fleas and ticks from making you their hosts. 

As for combating mosquitoes, she says it's best to keep bare skin to a  minimum. If swimming or sunbathing, she says, apply sunscreen first,  then insect repellent on top for maximum biting pest protection. 

So far, says  Siegel, she's seen no indication from the Texas Department of State  health Services that the summer will be a particularly bad one for  fleas, ticks, mosquitoes or other biting insects.

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