Insect Borne Illnesses and Workers
July 6, 2018
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there has been a sizable increase in the number of insect-borne illnesses – and individuals who work outdoors are at a particularly high risk for exposure. Insect borne illnesses can inflict mild-to-severe symptoms, so taking preventative steps as well as knowing what signs to look out for are both effective ways to inhibit the associated dangers.
Types of Insect-Borne Illnesses
There are many different kinds of insect-borne illnesses – or illnesses that are linked to flea, tick and/or mosquito bites. Some of the most common ones are:
- Dengue fever;
- West Nile virus;
- The plague (often carried by rodents and fleas);
- The Zika virus, and:
- Lyme disease
In the United States between 2004 and 2016, the CDC documented at least 640,000 cases of insect-borne illnesses such as the ones above. Despite there being thousands of cases every year, the centers note that 84% of local and state health departments fail to take critical steps (like terminating mosquitoes at every life stage, conducting pesticide resistance tests and enacting other helpful control measures) to protect citizens from these preventable diseases.
Some of the main symptoms attributed to insect-borne illnesses like the ones above include fatigue, stiff neck, fever, body, muscle and joint pain, rash, headache, and paralysis.
Workers at Risk
Individuals who work outside are more likely to come into contact with insects that carry disease(s) than others are, so it is critical to take preventive steps to inhibit the cases of insect borne illnesses. Although there are plenty of jobs that require outdoor work, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that workers in the following job sectors are most frequently outdoors:
- Leisure and hospitality;
- Agriculture, fishing, forestry, and hunting;
- Transportation and warehousing, and:
- Oil and gas extraction, mining, and quarrying
Tips for Avoiding Insect-Born Diseases and Illnesses
The CDC recommends that outdoor workers – and individuals who employ outdoor workers – consider the following effective recommendations:
- Use insect repellants with at least 20% DEET (and up to 50%) – and be sure to apply to exposed skin as well as clothing;
- Wear light-colored clothing that covers as much of the body as is comfortable – and be sure it is clean;
- Ensure daily bathing but avoid the use of cologne, perfume, perfumed soap, strong deodorants and certain scented shampoos;
- Check your skin every day for worrisome insect bites as well as ticks and tick bites;
- If a flying insect is nearby, stay calm. Swatting at them can cause them to bite or sting, and:
- Keep workspaces and areas clean! Insects – particularly mosquitoes – are drawn to and repopulate in standing, stagnant water
Just like with all other known workplace hazards, employers need to step up to protect their employees. If you have any questions or concerns about workplace safety failures that put you in danger, please contact a representative at our firm directly.
Allentown Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Represent Individuals Injured at Work
If you were injured at work, please contact the Allentown Workers’ compensation lawyers at Galfand Berger. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.