Zika virus is a growing concern for people traveling this summer, as it has begun spreading rapidly through new regions in Central America and the United States. Zika virus typically has very mild symptoms, but it can put people at risk of complications such as infant microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome. There is currently no cure or vaccine for the Zika virus.
AFC Urgent Care wants you and your family to be protected while on vacation, so if you’re planning to travel to an area that has been affected by Zika, like Africa, Southeast Asia, Central and South America, or the Pacific Islands, read on for our tips to keep yourself safe.
Avoid going out during peak mosquito activity. Early morning and early evening are the most active times for mosquitoes, so you should try to avoid spending a lot of time outside during those times of day. Careful planning can allow you to have breakfast and dinner inside and still enjoy the sights and experiences of your destination.
Use insect repellents. Bug sprays registered with the Environmental Protection Agency are the most likely to be effective at keeping mosquitoes away. You can also treat your clothing with permethrin, an insecticide and repellent that acts like natural extracts from the chrysanthemum flower. This chemical is widely-used by public health mosquito control programs, and it can give the wearer a bubble of protection. Studies have shown that permethrin is one of few pesticides that could be safe for young children.
Use barriers like netting and clothing. You can add a physical barrier between you and mosquitoes by wearing loose-fitting clothing that covers most of your skin. Thin, loose fabric can keep you cool in warm climates, while allowing you to protect yourself from bites. You can also add mosquito netting to baby strollers, hats and hotel rooms that don’t have window screens or air conditioning. These measures can keep you protected around the clock!
Use condoms or abstinence. To prevent sexual transmission of the Zika virus, doctors recommend the same measures you can take against other sexually transmitted diseases. Employing physical barriers like condoms or abstaining from sexual activity are two very effective ways to protect yourself from Zika!
The Zika virus has begun to spread quickly through countries like Brazil, and many cases have been confirmed in the United States. While the disease can be unnoticeable when you contract it, there are complications that can make the virus a much bigger health problem. If you need more information, visit your local AFC Urgent Care for advice on vaccines and other ways you can keep your family healthy while on vacation!