There are no known cases of the Zika virus being locally transmitted in the continental United States. Nevertheless, it is always best to be informed. Zika is an infection that can be spread primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito and secondarily through sex. Symptoms of Zika include rash, fever, red eyes and joint pain and can be especially dangerous among pregnant women. Zika infection in a pregnant woman can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly. More information about microcephaly can be found here.
To put your mind at ease, we have 10 ways to protect yourself from Zika this summer, whether pregnant or not:
1. Avoid standing water inside and outside your home. This can include flower pots, bottles of water and puddles. If you have a pool, don’t worry, the chlorine deters mosquitoes.
2. Wear light colored long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
3. Stay indoors while eating and exercising.
4. Use Environmental Protection Agency registered insect repellent day and night.
5. Follow instructions on how to properly use insect repellent, such as putting sunscreen on before repellent. (Remember to spray ankles and feet as the Aedes species has a special attraction to feet.
6. Avoid the use of scented skin care products because mosquitoes enjoy certain smells.
7. Pay a professional to spray your yard and home to keep mosquitoes away.
8. Use a mosquito bed net to be sure mosquitoes don’t bite while you are sleeping.
9. Travel smart by checking the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of areas with Zika and avoid traveling to those places this summer. If you or your partner do plan to or have traveled to these areas, you should speak with your doctor or other healthcare provider even if you do not feel symptoms.