It’s been making headlines for months, and the Zika Virus has now been reported in the U.S. this week with cases in Miami. Zika is particularly harmful to pregnant women, as it can cause the birth defect microcephaly in unborn children. But Zika also causes symptoms to others if they are bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus. Things like fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes that can last a few days up to a week. Though the CDC says most feel only mild symptoms if infected, there are ways to try to combat and prevent mosquito bites in ourselves and our kids.
Since we now have the Zika virus in our own backyard, I asked Dr. Sara Connolly of Bundoo to give us a few tips to protect our families against mosquito born illness.
how to protect your family from the zika virus
- Eliminate Standing Water – “Mosquitos breed in standing water, so eliminating these areas is your first defense,” says Dr. Connolly. Eliminate buckets of water, water tables, birdbaths, and kiddie pools if possible.
- Cover Your Kids – Yes it’s hot out, but if at all possible cover your kids in long pants and long sleeved shirts when playing outside. We do leggings with socks and shoes, and short sleeve shirts when we can.
- Mosquito Repellent – Now is the time to apply to bug spray every day to your kids. The Center for Disease Control has a great page with specifics, and says the oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of three. If you are concerned about the ingredients of over the counter bug sprays, you can make your own. Try this from DIY Natural, or Wellness Mama has great homemade options as well. Also, try not to put repellent on your kid’s hands, especially if they are little and frequently put their fingers in their mouths!
- Stroller Covers – Dr. Connolly recommends, “Babies in strollers should be covered in fine mosquito netting.”
- Avoid Peak Mosquito Time – “Dawn and dusk are two of the biggest offending times of the day for mosquito activity, but mosquitoes can really be found anywhere at any time.” We notice them frequently at dusk and try to cover up when we walk or go to the park.
- Plant Lemongrass – Mosquitoes do not like the fragrance of lemongrass, so you can plant it along walkways and areas where family members congregate. Here’s a list of other plants that repel pests!
The good news is, only 20% of those infected with Zika will actually feel symptoms and need treatment, so if you’re not pregnant breathe a sigh of relief. However if you are pregnant, there are still several precautions you can take to protect yourself and your baby from Zika. Read this from Bundoo, and stay informed!
This is also a great infographic from the CDC for everyone to read! If you live in Broward County, you can also request to have your property sprayed for mosquitoes for free. Read more here.
Protection and prevention is always our first line of defense. And while we’d love our kids to enjoy the rest of summer outdoors, now is the time to keep pests in mind before we head to the park.
If you liked this post, check out my other healthy living resources, and you might like this story on how to keep your kids healthy this school year.
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Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom says
Zika is concerning – especially for pregnant women. I would hate to be pregnant with this virus going around. Pregnancy can be nerve-wracking even at the best of times!
Great tips here Kristen. We make our own repellant too – although I find that I do have to use it more often than a store-bought repellant. I also have those chamomile stickers that I put on my kids’ shirts – which works for up to 72 hours.
Thanks for sharing!
Tamara Bowman says
Completely concerning. I’m not pregnant, but I think of everyone who is and will want to be. And I may want to be to someday. That’s why it’s so terrifying. It’s hard enough as is!
Ugh, mosquitoes and ticks. Can we rid the world of them??
In the meantime, thanks for the sensible advice.
I have two friend pregnant right now, scary!
great tips here! I am glad my baby making days are over.. this would freak me out!
I would be freaked out too! Two of my friends are pregnant, YIKES!
Janine Huldie says
Seriously, also glad I am no longer looking to have any more babies, because this is truly scary. When I was pregnant with my first, the Swine Flu outbreak happened. My sister-in-law actually works in the school where it first originated from and was with her when she found out about it. To say I was scared was putting it mildly. Thank god I didn’t become infected by this while pregnant with my first, but still had a few days where I was left truly worried about the what-ifs. So, definitely can’t thank you enough for the prevention tools here for Zika as if it can help those pregnant ladies out there definitely worthwhile in spreading ways to keep healthy now.
It IS scary, but there are ways to stay safe!
Thanks for sharing these tips. It’s good to KEEP REMINDING people.
do u guys deal w/ west nile too? we always did stories on that when i was in the biz!!!
The Zika virus is definitely concerning. And my younger daughter always seems to get mosquito bites when she’s outside. Hopefully something can be done about this virus before too long.