Tyler, TX — This year's West Nile outbreak has resulted in more than just a large number of people affected.
It seems that now many are extra paranoid about getting sick.
We spoke with one East Texan who said, "She gets one mosquito bite and oh no do I have West Nile," in reference to his girlfriend.
Another man said he tries not to go outside during dusk and he sprays his kids with extra bug spray when they go outside.
While doctors strongly suggest people be aware of the "Four D's"
1) Be extra cautious at Dusk and Dawn
2) Dress to cover exposed skin
3) Defend with bug spray containing Deet
4) Drain water
But they also don't want people to panic when its unnecessary.
Dr. Jonathan MacClements Director of Medical Education from UTHSCT told KETK, " I think people are a little nervous because they've heard West Nile fever is out there and they're presented to the emergency room and the clinic thinking that they've got West Nile because they have flu like symptoms, and by far the majority of them have not had West Nile."
The symptoms associated with West Nile are very similar to those associated with the flu, however there are some severe symptoms that help distinguish whether or not you have West Nile.
Sylvia Radcliffe, RN, Director of Infection Prevention at Trinity Mother Frances told KETK that, "stiff neck, that's one of the things that might be more important for people to pay attention to, if you cant bend your chin to your chest with out a lot of pain, or your neck is very very stiff that's more of a clinical sign and symptom than the fever, nausea, vomiting.
Radcliffe also told KETK that only one in about every 150 people will have the severe symptoms of West Nile Virus.
Dr. MacClements said that he primarily runs blood tests on people that are age 50 and older. He said that unless someone under 50 has severe symptoms they most likely will not run a blood test, since the virus primarily affects people 50+.
He said, "Remember we don't want to overburden our system but remember if you don't feel well regardless of your age, it may not be West Nile that's causing your symptoms its always a good idea to get checked out."
He also said, "What were trying to tell people is to treat it as if it was a common flu initially, if they start having some signs and symptoms that are worrying them for instance a high fever that wont go away with Tylenol or maybe ibuprofen, or if they start having some bad headaches or neck stiffness, or if they have any weakness on any side of the body then it's a really good idea to come and see the doctor."