In 2016, Americans saw a major health scare when cases of Zika were reported here in United States.
While it is still rarely contracted in the US, you can take certain steps to reduce the chances that you or someone you know will be infected. We’ve compiled a list of important safety tips for minimizing your risk for Zika.
Take extra precautions if you’re pregnant
Pregnant women should take more extreme measures than the average person to avoid the Zika Virus. Although Zika usually only causes mild symptoms, pregnant women with Zika can pass on severe birth defects to their children, like Microcephaly and other forms of brain damage. Pregnant women should not travel to any destination with a high risk of Zika Virus.
Educate yourself before traveling
Keep an eye out for any travel warnings from the CDC or other health organizations. If you are traveling to a region where Zika is a major risk, make sure you are vigilant in mosquito prevention tips like the one’s we outline below. Staying healthy is worth a few extra supplies in your suitcase.
Wear mosquito repellent
Wearing mosquito repellent is an easy way to reduce your risk of Zika. If you’re using a spray with active ingredients like Deet or Picaridin, follow the instructions on the label carefully. Be especially cautious when spraying your kids, since the amount of repellent differs from children to adults.
Wear long sleeves and pants
Having less skin available for mosquitos to bite will reduce your risk of contracting a virus, so cover up if you’re in a high risk area. However, you should also take precautions to avoid overheating in your long sleeves, as regions that have a high risk of Zika infection tend to be very hot and humid.
Remove or minimize standing water on your property
Mosquitos eggs germinate in standing water. If you have a pool, make sure the water is circulating and filtered to keep mosquitos from laying their eggs. Clearing out any standing water on your property, like the water in your gutters, is a great way to reduce the number of mosquitos near your house.
Use air conditioning
Mosquitos prefer warm air, so they will avoid your house if you maintain a cooler climate indoors. Also, because your windows will likely remain closed and sealed while your air conditioning is running, mosquitos will have a harder time entering your home.
Invest in mosquito control treatment
Even if you follow all of the preventative tips we’ve listed, there’s still no way to completely avoid mosquito bites. We recommend having your yard treated with an intensive mosquito control program early in spring to prevent the growth of the mosquito population and reduce your risk of exposure. If you already have a major mosquito problem at home, a mosquito control program will kill the mosquitoes and larvae on your property.