With the rising threat of Zika virus, individuals need to protect themselves more from mosquito bites, especially from mosquitoes carrying the virus. Zika virus is transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Symptoms of Zika virus include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. Although symptoms are mild and non-threatening in healthy individuals, Zika virus poses a larger threat to pregnant women and their fetuses as it can lead to birth defects.
Brazil currently has the largest number of Zika virus cases, including 5,000 cases of microcephaly, which is a birth defect caused by the virus. There is growing concern that the Aedes aegypti mosquito will make its way to the U.S., including Gulf Coast states like Florida and Louisiana.
The Nebraska Regional Poison Center suggests that you protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes by following “the 3 D’s”:
- Drain water from garbage cans, tarps on outdoor furniture, coolers, planters, pet bowls, and other sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed. Check for standing water after every rain and every time you water the lawn/garden. Wipe out birdbaths every few days.
- Dress to ward off mosquitoes. Wear clothing that is loose, light-colored, and has long sleeves and covers your legs. Cover cribs, strollers, and baby carriers with mosquito netting.
- Defend against mosquitoes using a number of methods. Mosquitoes are weak flyers, so consider using a fan when sitting outside. Plant marigolds or citronella, which are considered natural mosquito repellents. Instead of regular light bulbs, use LED lights for outdoors because they do not attract mosquitoes.
The best defense against mosquitoes is insect repellent, which is also safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women.
Ensure repellent is applied to exposed skin, but avoid areas with a rash, cut, or scrap on the skin. Don’t use insect repellents on children under two months, and always avoid the nose, eyes, and mouth when applying the product. To apply repellent on face, first put it on your hands and apply.
Also, read more on Zika Virus.