(8-5-14) A Lincolnite has West Nile. 26-year-old Alex Munson thinks he was bit by an infected mosquito in Southeastern Nebraska, likely while camping at the Twin Rivers.
Munson knew it wasn't the flu when his body hurt so bad he couldn't get out of bed. He said the give-away of West Nile is that achy body pain, especially in the neck and eyes. Other symptoms of West Nile include bad headaches and high fevers.
"My brother mentioned to me that he had heard some instances of West Nile going around Eastern Nebraska, so that was what made me decide to finally go in and get tested," Munson said.
Munson was diagnosed on July 24.
"The first four or five days is when the really severe symptoms went away like the nausea and the vomiting," Munson said. "My fever kept going up and down."
Munson said the highest his fever got was 103 degrees Fahrenheit and that if a fever gets too high, it can effect the brain.
There is no true treatment for the West Nile virus.
"They gave me a Vitamin C booster shot and they recommended a Vitamin B supplement like B6 and B12 so that you can keep your nervous system healthy while fighting off the virus," Munson said. "Other than that, keep yourself hydrated."
Munson advices people spending time outdoors to protect themselves from mosquitoes.
"If you go out doing anything outside, like camping, wear bug spray," Munson said. "A friend of mine recommended keeping Bounce dryer sheets with you, Bounce specifically. I guess those deter mosquitoes pretty well. All it takes is one bite."
If a person thinks he or she has West Nile, Munson said to look for the localized pain in the neck and eyes. The intense body pain keeping a person in bed is also a reason to get tested for the virus.
He also has advice for a person who tests positive for the virus:
"Drink water, drink water and drink more water," Munson said. "You'll be throwing up a lot in that first week if it's anything like what I had. Even if you're throwing up, you've got to make yourself drink water and Gatorade for electrolytes. And then make sure you keep tabs on your fever."
Doctors told Munson effects from West Nile can last for up to 3 months to a year.
On August 4, 12 days after the diagnosis, Munson told KFOR News that the worst of it had left. He is experiencing fatigue and headaches and is regaining strength so that he can return to work bit by bit.
"No cost of repellant is too costly to keep West Nile away, let me tell you," Munson said.
Munson had the common cold around the time that he was bit. Doctors said the already weakened immune system could help explain why West Nile hit him and attacked his system so quickl.
Five cases of the West Nile virus have been reported in Nebraska by the Department of Health and Human Services so far this year, none of which have been in Lancaster County.