Health & Fitness

15 ways to protect yourself against Zika

Combating Zika in Miami's Wynwood district

Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control inspectors work to combat Zika on Saturday, July 30, 2016, after four people in South Florida acquired the virus from local mosquitoes.
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Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control inspectors work to combat Zika on Saturday, July 30, 2016, after four people in South Florida acquired the virus from local mosquitoes.

As the number of Zika cases continues to rise in South Florida, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has several tips for staying safe.

“The best way to prevent Zika is to protect yourself from mosquito bites,” the CDC said on its website.

On Monday, the CDC announced that there have been 14 locally transmitted cases and warned pregnant women to avoid a one-square-mile area north of downtown Miami — including Wynwood, Midtown and the Design District.

While the CDC suggests everyone should protect themselves from getting bitten, here are some specific tips for pregnant women and their partners, children and travelers, the groups most at risk:

PREGNANT WOMEN

▪ Avoid travel to areas where there are infected mosquitoes. Of the 14 local cases, 12 are in Miami-Dade just north of downtown and two are in Broward.

▪ See your doctor or contact the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County at 305-324-2400 for testing if you visited the Wynwood area on or after June 15 or a country known to have Zika and develop a fever, rash, joint pain or red eyes.

▪ Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding can use insect repellent with one of the following active ingredients: DEET and Picaridin, found in such products as Off!, Cutter and Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus. These are EPA-registered insect repellents.

▪ The CDC said Monday women and men who’ve traveled to Wynwood, Midtown or the Design District and have a pregnant sex partner should use condoms every time they have sex during the pregnancy, or avoid having sex during the pregnancy.

▪ U.S. doctors should test newborns who show signs of the Zika virus, especially in Florida, where mosquitoes are prevalent.

CHILDREN

▪ Most insect repellent can be used on children, with a few caveats. Always follow instructions when applying insect repellent to children.

▪ Do not apply insect repellent to children under 2 months old.

▪ Dress children in clothing that covers their arms and legs.

▪ Use mosquito netting to cover cribs, strollers and baby carriers.

▪ Protect your home from mosquitoes by using screens on windows and doors and getting rid of standing water.

TRAVELERS

▪ Stay in places with air conditioning and with windows and door screens.

▪ If you are sleeping outdoors, sleep under a mosquito net.

▪ Use insect repellent and wear protective clothing.

▪ Upon return from a place where there were infected mosquitoes, continue to protect yourself for three weeks after travel so you do not spread Zika.

▪ If you feel sick when you return from a trip, immediately go to a doctor.

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