4 Ways to Protect Yourself from Zika

If you keep up with the news, you’ll notice that the Zika virus has been making headlines. This specific virus is spread to people through mosquito bites, and the most common symptoms of the diseases are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes). While the illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting several days to a week, severe disease may require hospitalization.

Currently, there have been travel notices issued for people travelling to places with Zika virus that you can stay in the loop about here. Since Zika has been linked to birth defects in women infected during pregnancy, here’s how you can stay protected against mosquitos:

  1. Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours. Repellents that contain 20% - 30% DEET, picaridin or IR3535 are safe for pregnant women when used as directed.
  2. Stay inside air-conditioned places with windows and door screens, wearing long, loose and light colored pants and shirts.
  3. Avoid using scents that may attract mosquitoes, and wear clothes that have been treated with the insecticide permethrin - please ensure the insecticide does not come into direct contact with your skin.
  4. If you are using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.

Unfortunately, like chikungunya and dengue, there is no medicine for Zika but the tips above can help you take the necessary steps to prevent mosquito bites. When travelling to areas with Zika, keep these in mind and ensure you still follow them once you return to the Unites States in order to prevent spreading Zika to uninfected mosquitoes.

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