The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus that is suspected of causing birth defects in newborns of mothers affected with the virus. Preventing mosquito bites is the best method of protection from the virus as there is no treatment or vaccines for the virus.
Here are six important steps to protecting yourself from the Zika virus-carrying mosquitos.
1. Mosquito Repellent
Picking the right mosquito repellent is crucial. The Center for Disease Control recommends repellents with active ingredients such as oil of lemon eucalyptus, picaridin, DEET, or IR 3535. Avoid non-registered mosquito repellents containing cedar oil, citronella oil, peppermint oil, geranium oil, and soybean oil.
Make sure you apply your mosquito repellent after applying your sunscreen. Also, do not wear repellent under clothes as the repellent may accumulate in the fabric. Be sure to spray your ankles and feet as the mosquito that carries the Zika virus, Aedes, has an attraction to feet.
If possible, cover up and repel mosquitos with clothing. Make sure you stick to full coverage shoes that protect your feet. Wear lighter colors, as mosquitos tend to be attracted to darker colors.
Did you know that one tablespoon of water can act as a mosquito breeding ground, producing up to 300 mosquitos? Eliminate standing water in your home and backyard to avoid mosquitos and disease.
5. Exercise Indoors
Exercise indoors if possible. Mosquitos are attracted to the heat and carbon dioxide your body produces when you exercise.
6. Travel Smart
The best way to avoid the Zika virus is to avoid travelling to affected areas. The Center for Disease Control has a list of countries with active Zika virus transmission. If you must be in a country affected by Zika virus, stay in air-conditioned areas and use mosquito repellent vigilantly.