As the weather gets warmer, people are headed outdoors. Along with the outdoors are some things Coloradans should keep in mind.
1) Are there plants which can kill you in Colorado? FACT
Watch out for these plants on your next hike.
- Larkspur grows at higher elevations (above 7,000 feet) and is known for killing cattle who graze on them. It can also be harmful for humans, causing muscle paralysis which leads to difficulty breathing and ultimately death.
- Locoweed which includes the word “loco” (crazy in Spanish) which is what happens to animals who graze and feed on this.Found in the mountains and the foothills, when ingested it can cause strange behaviors in livestock, causing damage to the nervous system, heart and reproductive system. In humans, it is still unknown what the effects can be. But definitely don’t want to ingest.
- Lupine – The toxin is primarily found in the seeds, causing abdominal pain in humans if ingested, and possibly death in children if large amounts are eaten.
- Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac won’t kill you, but will make you miserable for a few weeks. Best to avoid if possible of course, but if you do brush up against it, you can see blistering of the skin and intense itching. The treatment is calamine lotion, cool oatmeal-based baths, Benadryl and time.
2) Can cockroaches trigger asthma? FACT
Not only are cockroaches gross and difficult to get rid of, they can also be a reason for asthma flares. The saliva, droppings and body parts from the cockroaches can cause allergic reactions and asthma flares. It’s estimated in urban areas, up to 98% of home can have cockroach allergens.
Keeping the house clean, food off the floors, and calling pest control immediately if you see a cockroach can help you keep your asthma in check. Other asthma triggers at home can be:
- Dust mites, which often live in carpet, furniture and bedding
- Dander (from cats, dogs, bunny rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters)
- Air pollution
- Household cleaning products
If you have asthma, this can be a difficult time of year as well with the season change and allergy season. Take precautions and see your healthcare provider immediately if you asthma begins to flare.
3) Ticks and mosquito related illnesses are decreasing over time? FICTION
Diseases which are carried by ticks, mosquitoes and fleas have tripled in the last 13 years, with approximately 640,000 cases during this time frame.
Zika, West Nile, lyme and Chikayunga are the main diseases we are seeing more of now. Prevention is key! Keep these things in mind as you get outside.
These diseases can have very nonspecific symptoms like headaches, feeling tired, fevers, body aches and joint pain. We don’t see Lyme disease in Colorado, but we do see other tick-related illnesses.
Tips to keep you healthy this outdoor season:
- Wear the right clothing, such as long sleeves, long pants, and limit exposed areas.
- Treat your clothing with permethrin.
- Use the right type of insect repellent (https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you)
- Check for ticks immediately after you come indoors (on yourself, children, and pets)
- Remove areas of standing water where mosquitoes can breed.