The most common way for Zika to spread is through the bite of an infected mosquito. So the best way to protect yourself is to avoid mosquito bites. While Zika is currently not being transmitted in the US, it’s still a good idea to know how to keep you and your family safe.
Use insect repellant
The best way to protect yourself against mosquito bites is to use insect repellant. Here are a few things to look for when choosing a spray or lotion:
- Use one that is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). All EPA-registered bug sprays and lotions are checked to make sure they’re safe and effective.
- Use products that contain:
- oil of lemon eucalyptus
- When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Most repellants are safe to use on babies 2 months and older, but check with your baby’s health care provider. Do not use oil of lemon eucalyptus on children 3 years or younger.
- Do not wear insect repellant under clothes.
- Put on sunscreen first before any bug spray.
If you’ve been in a Zika-affected area, use insect repellant for 3 weeks after you return, even if you do not feel sick. This will help to prevent Zika from spreading to others.
Wear the right clothing
- Wear a hat, a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, shoes and socks. Ankles and necks are especially vulnerable to mosquito bites so make sure they are protected.
- If hiking or camping, wear permethrin-treated clothes. Do not use permethrin on skin.
- If you are pregnant or trying to conceive and you work outside, talk to your employer about working inside. If that’s not possible, make sure your clothes protect and cover your skin.
Keep your environment safe
- Take steps to keep mosquitoes outside and to prevent them from breeding.
- Remove any standing water.
- Stay in places with air conditioning.
- Make sure that screens on doors or windows are intact and do not have any holes.
- Use mosquito netting across the top of your baby’s stroller or crib to help keep your baby safe from mosquitoes. Keep the netting out of reach of your baby and make sure it doesn’t touch your baby’s face or body.