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 a 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.