What is Chikungunya?

Chikungunya virus is transmitted to people by mosquitoes. The most common symptoms of chikungunya virus infection are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Outbreaks have occurred in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In late 2013, chikungunya virus was found for the first time in the Americas on islands in the Caribbean. There is a risk that the virus will be imported to new areas by infected travelers. There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat chikungunya virus infection. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites. When traveling to countries with chikungunya virus, use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens. (CDC)

Where Is It Found?

Chikungunya virus is usually thought of as a tropical disease because, until recently, it was found only in Africa, Asia and India. But an outbreak was reported in Italy in 2007. And in 2013, chikungunya was reported on islands in the Caribbean.At this time, there are no reports of the virus being acquired in the United States. However, it's quite possible that the virus will make its way to the United States because it's spread by a species of mosquito found throughout much of the Americas, including parts of the United States.

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What is DEET?

The majority of insect repellents are composed of toxic chemicals combined with with the pesticide, DEET. DEET can be extremely poisonous and the Environmental Protection Agency urges you to wash it off your skin and avoid breathing it in. DEET was first introduced by the United States Army and was tested as a pesticide. DEET, although effective at repelling insects, may act as a skin irritant for many people as well as a deadly neurotoxin.

What are some products that contain DEET?

DEET has been used in a number of insect repellent products including liquid sprays, lotions, and sticks. It has been estimated that about 30% of the U.S. population uses one or more products that contain DEET every year.

Always follow label instructions and take steps to avoid exposure. If any exposures occur, be sure to follow the First Aid instructions on the product label carefully.

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What is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate?

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, also known as Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfafe (SLES), is an inexpensive chemical that causes suds and foam and is used in many detergents, soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, etc. SLES is known as an irritant… imagine putting soap on your eyes… not very fun. Clearly, these products are not safe for your body and are not natural. Furthermore, depending on how these products have been manufactured, they may carry other chemicals that can be carcinogenic.

Use in Cosmetics

Sodium laureth sulfate (sometimes referred to as SLES) is used in cosmetics as a detergent and also to make products bubble and foam. It is common in shampoos, shower gels and facial cleansers. It is also found in household cleaning products, like dish soap.

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What is West Nile Virus?

West Nile virus (WNV) is most commonly transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. You can reduce your risk of being infected with WNV by using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing to prevent mosquito bites. There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent WNV infection. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms. Less than 1% of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness. (CDC)

Who is at risk of infection?

Anyone living in an area where West Nile virus is present in mosquitoes can get infected. West Nile virus has been detected in all lower 48 states (not in Hawaii or Alaska). Outbreaks have been occurring every summer since 1999. The risk of infection is highest for people who work outside or participate in outdoor activities because of greater exposure to mosquitoes.

What are Parabens?

Parabens are preservatives that are commonly used in personal care products. Recently, there have been discussions among scientists regarding the issue around Parabens potentially being harmful to one's health. Additionally, some scientists worry that there is a link between breast cancer and the use of Parabens.

What kind of products contain Parabens?

They are used in a wide variety of cosmetics, as well as foods and drugs. Cosmetics that may contain parabens include makeup, moisturizers, hair care products, and shaving products, among others. Most major brands of deodorants and antiperspirants do not currently contain parabens.

Cosmetics sold on a retail basis to consumers are required by law to declare ingredients on the label. This is important information for consumers who want to determine whether a product contains an ingredient they wish to avoid. Parabens are usually easy to identify by name, such as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, or benzylparaben.

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