Zika: It’s Still a Thing. Mosquito-Borne Virus Remains in the U.S.

Zika: It’s Still a Thing. Mosquito-Borne Virus Remains in the U.S.

Zika carrierZika has not made news headlines this spring the way it did last year. But the mosquito-borne virus is still a threat. Cases have been reported in the continental United States this year, including parts of South Florida and Texas. About 100 cases of Zika have appeared in North Carolina since 2015.

What to Know about Zika

But enough numbers. The reason you care: Zika spreads easily through mosquito bites. Many people who have been infected with the Zika virus won’t know it; they may have no symptoms or mild symptoms, such as:

● A fever
● Rash
● Joint pain
● Red eyes
● Muscle pain
● Headache

The symptoms may last for several days. Once a person has had Zika, they are likely to be protected against it in the future, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Risks of Zika

While Zika rarely results in hospitalizations and is typically not fatal, it’s important for pregnant women to avoid it. A Zika infection during pregnancy can cause birth defects, miscarriage, or stillbirth. One of the main problems is a brain defect called microcephaly, which appears in babies whose mothers contracted the virus during pregnancy.

Prevent Zika by Protecting Against Mosquitoes

There is no Zika vaccine, so the best way to prevent Zika and other diseases spread by mosquitoes is by avoiding bites. You can do this in several ways:

● Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants while outside.
● Buy clothing treated to protect against mosquitoes.
● Use insect repellent with DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone. These are proven safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. The EPA has a list of registered insect repellents considered safe for the environment.
● Use door and window screens to keep bugs out of your home.
● Use mosquito netting if you do not have screens or if you are sleeping outside, such as during a camping trip.
● Spray your yard and areas around your home for mosquitoes every 21 days — the life cycle of a mosquito.
● Prevent areas of standing water in your yard. A mosquito can lay 10,000 eggs in just one teaspoon of water. Treat your gutters with mosquito spray, avoid birdbaths, and make sure any buckets, watering cans, or other gardening and lawn equipment is put away when not in use.

Warnings about Insect Repellent

Insect repellent should not be used on babies younger than 2 months old. Use mosquito netting instead. Also, do not use products with oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than 3 years old.

Take Back Your Yard

You can rid your yard of mosquitoes with our seasonal spraying program. We visit every 21 days to keep the bugs at bay. Check out our services or contact us to get started.

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