Mosquitoes are a common summer nuisance. They carry a myriad of diseases such as West Nile virus, malaria, and Zika, among several others. By knowing the facts surrounding the Zika virus and taking precautions to prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites, you can be safe and healthy while enjoying your outdoor activities.
What You Need to Know About the Zika Virus
Mosquitoes are known to transmit several serious conditions to humans, such as malaria, West Nile virus, and yellow fever. Now the Zika virus disease, another mosquito-borne illness, also falls in that category. Some common symptoms of the virus are joint pain, fever, and rash. In most cases, the disease is mild, and most people don’t even know they have been infected. For pregnant women, however, the Zika virus can cause serious issues for their unborn baby.
The biggest concern for pregnant women infected with the virus is the risk of birth defects in the fetus. Serious fetal brain defects, particularly microcephaly, is the primary concern. Microcephaly is a condition in which the fetus’ head is abnormally small and can result in developmental delays in addition to physical abnormalities.
Because there is no vaccine for the Zika virus, the key to preventing infection lies in preventing mosquito bites. The following is a list of things you can do to reduce your chances of getting bitten when outdoors.
- Use insect repellents with DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, picaridin, or other EPA-evaluated active ingredient.
- Be sure to reapply as recommended for maximum protection.
- Cover as much of your body as possible with clothing. Wear long sleeves and long pants if feasible.
- Get rid of any standing or stagnant water nearby, as it is most likely a mosquito breeding ground.
- If you live in a mosquito-prone area, place citronella or eucalyptus around your yard, especially in your immediate area.
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