In February 2016, the World Health Organization announced that the mosquito spread Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Symptoms of the Zika virus are typically mild, lasting a few days to a week and can include fever, rash, conjunctivitis and joint pain. Zika Virus infection during pregnancy, however, can cause the serious birth defect Microcephaly as well as other fetal brain defects.
Here are some quick facts about Zika, according to the CDC
- There is no vaccine for the Zika virus
- The best way to prevent Zika is to avoid mosquito bites
- Mosquitoes that spread the virus bite mainly during the day
How to control mosquitoes and avoid mosquito bites
In North America, mosquitoes are typically just a nuisance rather than a health concern. With the spread of Zika virus, this outlook is changing. For those looking to lessen their chances of being bitten by a mosquito carrying the Zika virus and other mosquito spread diseases, the following is recommended:
- Take steps to control mosquitoes entrance into your home. Cover your doors and windows with screens and be sure to use those screens when your doors and windows are open.
- Check existing screens for tears or damage and have them repaired if needed.
- Ensure your screens are tight fitting to the opening with no gaps.
- Cover your skin – wear long-sleeved tops and long pants.
- When outdoors, use an EPA registered insect repellent product that contains ingredients such as DEET. Follow the product instructions for use.
- In your yard – if you have containers that hold water such as tires, buckets, bird feeders – at least once a week, remove the water and scrub. Tightly cover any water storage so that mosquitoes cannot get in and lay eggs.
- Use a larvacide for larger containers of water that cannot be covered and are not used for drinking water.
- Use outdoor flying insecticide spray for dark and humid areas where mosquitoes rest (under patio furniture, gazebos, carports, etc.) Follow the product instructions.