Summer is travel season for many of us. Before your trip, make sure you’re protected from Zika. The Zika virus is still spreading in certain areas (called Zika-affected areas) around the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an interactive world map to show you areas with risk of Zika. If you’re pregnant or planning to get pregnant, don’t travel to a Zika-affected area unless it’s absolutely necessary.
If you get infected with Zika during pregnancy, you can pass it to your baby. Zika infection during pregnancy causes a birth defect called microcephaly and other brain and health problems. You can get infected with the Zika virus through body fluids, like blood and semen, and through mosquito bites.
If you’re planning to travel to a Zika-affected area, talk to your health care provider before you go about how to protect yourself from Zika. Here’s what you can do:
- Don’t have sex. If you do have sex, use a barrier method of birth control (like a condom or dental dam) every time.
- Protect yourself from mosquitoes. Here’s how:
- Use an insect repellant, like bug spray or lotion, that’s registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. Use one with one or more of these ingredients: DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, IR3535, and 2-undecanone. These ingredients are safe to use during pregnancy.
- Stay in places that have air conditioning or screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out. If you’re in a Zika-affected area and sleeping outside or in a room that doesn’t have screens on doors and windows, sleep under a mosquito net.
- Wear a hat, a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, shoes and socks.
If you’ve been in a Zika-affected area, use bug spray or lotion for 3 weeks after you get back to help prevent Zika from spreading to others.
For more information:
- Zika virus and pregnancy fact sheet
- Zika virus and pregnancy infographic
- Zika virus and mosquitoes infographic
- Zika Care Connect