Be Zika Aware When Traveling This Summer

Guest Authors: Erick Nickens Jr., Durham County Government; Jennifer Heiss, Wake County Government

The summer travel season has begun. As you pack your bags, remember to also be prepared to prevent mosquito bites while traveling.

mosquito silhouette on concrete textured surface
Be Zika aware when traveling this summer.

Zika is not being transmitted locally by mosquitoes in the continental United States at this time.

However; if you are traveling to areas of the world where Zika is being transmitted by bites from these bugs, there are several things you can do to stay safe and enjoy your trip!

Avoid mosquito bites

Use EPA-registered insect repellents that contain at least 20 percent DEET for protection against mosquitoes, ticks and other bugs.

  • If using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first, let dry and then apply repellent.
  • Do not spray sunscreen on skin under clothing.

If possible, cover exposed skin by wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts, socks and shoes.

Avoid bug bites where you are staying

Make sure that your hotel room or other location you are staying at is air conditioned or have good window and door screens so bugs cannot get inside.

If bugs can get into where you are sleeping, use a permethrin-treated bed net.

The CDC recommends that pregnant women not travel to areas with Zika outbreaks due to risks of severe birth defects or miscarriage. If you are pregnant and you have to travel to areas where Zika is currently transmitted, strictly follow the above steps to avoid being bitten while traveling.

Women who are planning to get pregnant should talk with their doctor about travel plans. If a pregnant woman’s male partner travels to these areas, condoms should be used during sex or sex should be avoided for the rest of the pregnancy.

Source: CDC