Helpful tips to protect yourself and family from Zika virus

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Cases of the Zika virus, a mosquito-transmitted infection that may be linked to birth defects, are on the rise. Currently the majority of cases have been reported in the Americas, with Brazil reporting the highest numbers of cases. Although no local mosquito-borne cases have been reported in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported there have been travel-associated cases.

Because a vaccine does not currently exist, understanding to how to protect yourself from mosquito bites is key to preventing mosquito-transmitted infections like the Zika virus. The experts from Coleman Insect Repellents have compiled the following list of helpful tips to protect you and your family from mosquito bites:

  1. Stay indoors during peak times. Although they can be active at night, the mosquitoes that carry Zika are most active and bite most aggressively during the day.
  2. Use personal insect repellent. When outside be sure to use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent with one of the following four active ingredients, which are also recommended by the CDC: DEET, IR3535®, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE)/para-mentane-diol (PMD), Picaridin. Some examples of EPA-registered products include: Coleman® DEET Based Insect Repellent, IR3535® SkinSmart® Insect Repellents, and the plant-based Coleman® Botanicals with OLE. When used as directed, these repellents have been proven safe and effective for pregnant women.
  3. Wear long sleeves and pants; treat your gear. Cover up as much as possible to prevent mosquito bites on exposed skin. Keep colors light, as mosquitoes are attracted to darker hues. Because mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing, it's recommended that you treat your clothing and gear with permethrin, like Coleman® Gear and Clothing Insect Treatment, to increase effectiveness in preventing mosquito bites. Do NOT use permethrin products directly on the skin.
  4. Mosquito proof your home and yard. Mosquitoes like to lay eggs in and near standing water, therefore it is recommended that you be diligent about removing standing water from planters, buckets, etc. around your home. Be sure to also check your home's gutters to make certain water is flowing properly. Additionally, ensure your home has tight-fitting screens and windows, repair any holes and use air conditioning when available.
  5. Use nets when traveling. When traveling to regions known to have the Zika virus, sleep under a mosquito bed net – both outdoors and indoors. Some shields, like the Atwater Carey® Built-in Insect Shield®, come in a variety of sizes and are pre-treated with permethrin to kill or disable insects. If traveling with your child, cover cribs, strollers and baby carriers with mosquito netting. Always be sure to follow instructions when applying insect repellent to children or their gear.

Coleman Insect Repellents


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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