7 Tips for Avoiding the Zika Virus

Experts are saying that the Zika virus is a dangerous threat to civilization. This quickly-spreading virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and has been suspected in causing thousands of cases of microcephaly, a birth defect.

Adults affected by the Zika virus may experience fever, rashes, joint pain and other symptoms. There is currently no vaccine or other treatment for the Zika virus. The only way to protect yourself from this dangerous virus is to avoid getting mosquito bites.

As mosquito season approaches, the threat will only increase. The following tips will help protect you and your loved ones from the Zika virus.

1. Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. It may be unappealing in the summer months, but to avoid Zika, you should wear closed-toes shoes and socks. Baggier clothes tend to offer more protection, as mosquitoes can bite through Spandex.

2. Stay indoors. If you leave your windows open, make sure you have secure window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out.

3. Remove areas of standing water around your home. Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so check your yard for any areas of poor drainage that may provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Standing water can accumulate in flower pots, buckets, bottles, plastic bags and tarps.

4. Add mosquito netting to your camping pack and/or survival kit in case you need to sleep outdoors. If you already live in an area that is at high risk for Zika, you may want to consider installing mosquito netting over your bed to reduce your risk of contracting the virus.

5. Use EPA-registered insect repellants. Follow the label on the product and reapply as directed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends insect repellants that include any of the following active ingredients: DEET, lemon eucalyptus oil, picaridin or IR 3535.

6. Treat your clothing and other gear with permethrin, a chemical that repels and kills insects, including mosquitoes. Tents, camp chairs, packs and other gear can be treated with permethrin. Read the label before applying the product and only use it as directed.

7. Avoid Zika-affected areas. Many popular tourist destinations are affected by the Zika virus. The areas currently known to have active Zika virus transmission include (but are not limited to) Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Venezuela and Brazil.

If you’re planning to travel this summer, check the CDC’s list of areas with active Zika virus transmission. Women who are pregnant or planning to conceive should reconsider any plans to visit Zika-affected areas.

Here’s a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website about Zika. This page lists the most current notices about travel to Zika-affected areas.