Date Published: 2016-02-09

How To Prepare For The Zika Virus Outbreak

Mosquito Prevention
Mosquito Prevention

Mosquito Prevention
Mosquito Prevention
By Adelia Ladson

In light of the Zika Virus outbreak in South America, I wanted to find out exactly what it was because viruses have a nasty way of traveling to the United States from other countries. Remember the Ebola Virus a couple of years ago. I don’t want to be in the dark about it, especially, since it’s transmitted by mosquitoes. So, when I saw what its symptoms and effects were, I started thinking about prevention. What could I do to keep from contracting the virus if it becomes pandemic in the U.S.? At my last count, there have already been 35 travel-related cases here.

Individual Protection

Insect Repellent: The key to prevention is protection. So, making sure that you are wearing an insect repellent when you go outside is important. There are a few different types of repellent out there. The difference being which ingredient is used in the product. To protect against mosquitoes, the CDC recommends repellents that contain DEET, Picaridin, Para-menthane-diol (PMD) and oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE). Some natural repellents are citronella oil, cedar oil, geranium oil, peppermint oil and soybean oil. I think what most people forget to do (and I’ve been guilty of this) is to reapply the repellent. Always read the label to see how many hours it’s supposed to be good for and make sure you keep track when you’re enjoying outdoor activities. Note: If you’re using sunscreen, it should always be applied before the insect repellent.

Pre-Treated Clothing: Another way to protect yourself, especially, when you’re fishing or camping is to use Permethin, which is a chemical to treat clothing and gear against mosquitoes. You can purchase items that have already been treated and will still be effective after several washings. You can also buy a Permethin Spray to treat your clothing and gear yourself. Note: Do not spray this product directly on your skin.

Home Protection

Inside: Now that you’re protected yourself, you need to protect your home, as well. Make sure that you have screens on all of your windows and doors. If you do already, then please make sure that they are whole and intact. Sometimes, we forget that screens can wear out and become damaged over the years and we don’t notice that they need to be replaced or we just put off replacing them. They won’t do any good if there’s a big, gaping hole in them or if the frame is bent.

Outside: On the outside of your home, make sure that you don’t have places where water can collect. There is nothing worse than having standing water around your home. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in and around standing water, so don’t help them breed. Buckets and empty flower pots should be turned over so they can’t collect water and any toys or kiddie pools shouldn’t be left out to collect water or with water in them. Other culprits that invite mosquitoes to lay eggs are old tires, trash containers and bird baths. Really, once a week you should check around your yard to make sure that there is no standing water. Don’t expose yourself and your family to the Zika Virus. Protect yourself. It’s not that difficult.

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