The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel warning on August 1. The unprecedented warning advises pregnant women and their partners not to travel to areas in northern Miami where there is active spread of Zika virus. For the Olympics in Rio, the World Health Organization is providing public health advice to the Brazilian government on ways to reduce the risk of contracting Zika virus for athletes and visitors.
Here are 3 important things you can do to reduce your risk of contracting Zika virus:
1. Prevent Mosquito Bites
Currently, there is no vaccine available for the virus. The best way to prevent Zika virus infection is by avoiding mosquito bites. The mosquitos that spread Zika virus normally bite during the daytime.
The CDC recommendations the following:
- Wear clothing that covers your skin
- Stay in places with air conditioning, or use screened windows and doors to keep mosquitos out
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net
- Use insect repellants as directed
- Use condoms and other barriers to protect against infection to reduce the chance of getting Zika from sex (Zika can be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her sex partners).
How to Use Repellants Effectively
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellants
- Always follow product label instructions
- Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing
- If using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent
- Remember to re-apply insect repellent as directed
2. Medisafe For Mosquito Repellent Application Reminders
Use Medisafe to set reminders for mosquito repellent reapplication and to receive travel advisory information and more pertaining to Zika virus and areas of active transmission. Since sweat, water and exposure can quickly remove repellent from the skin, it is important to properly re-apply as instructed.
Follow these 2 simple steps for Medisafe reminders:
- Add a repellent
- Set a reminder to re-apply (as instructed on product label)
And that’s it — Medisafe will remind you to re-apply repellent to stay safe against mosquito bites.
3. Know the Risk, Recognize Signs and Symptoms
The Zika virus poses a significant risk to pregnant women and has been strongly linked to microcephaly, a neurological disorder that leads to abnormal fetal development and brain damage and babies born with undersized skulls and brains. For those that are not pregnant, the most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis, muscle pain and headache. Symptoms usually begin 2 days after infection through a mosquito bite and usually last about a week. If you have recently traveled to an area with Zika virus and are pregnant, seek medical care if you feel symptoms related to Zika virus, including mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain and headaches.
Remember to stay safe by following CDC recommendations and to re-apply repellent.