You have probably been hearing a lot about the Zika Virus lately and you may be wondering if it is safe to travel. While you should be cautious and aware of the virus, there are steps you can take in order to still enjoy your vacation.
First, find out if your destination has Zika. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued travel notices to areas with confirmed cases of the Zika Virus: The Caribbean, Central America, The Pacific Islands and South America. Click here for a full list of locations with Zika travel notices.
Next, you need to know about the virus before you go. Know the symptoms and the best practices to avoid the virus. The CDC has put together a brief document that breaks down the Zika Virus. You and anyone traveling with you should look at this document: The Basics of the Zika Virus and How to Protect Against It.
Zika is a disease that is primarily spread by mosquitoes, but a man with Zika can spread it to his partner during intercourse. So, as you are packing for vacation – pack to prevent.
- Insect repellent (Look for these ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or PMD.)
- Long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Clothing and gear treated with permethrin
- Bed net (if mosquitoes can get to where you are sleeping)
- Condoms (if you may have intercourse)
Once you are back home from your trip – stop the spread. Watch for symptoms after you get home (fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes). Call your doctor immediately if you suspect Zika. Use insect repellent for three weeks after travel and continue use of condoms to avoid spreading the virus.
Remember, Zika is linked to birth defects so pregnant women should consider postponing travel to any area with Zika. If your male partner travels to these areas, either use condoms or do not have intercourse for the rest of your pregnancy.
To find out more information, visit www.cdc.gov/zika.