This is a sponsored post in partnership with The Motherhood on behalf of Texas Department of State Health Services.
Oh how I love Texas winters, but we do pay a price for our warmth when it comes to mosquitoes. Mosquito season in Texas is a concern year round, and because of this there is a higher risk of Zika transmission from summer through late fall. As a mom I so want to keep my kids safe and healthy. Sometimes just educating ourselves and beginning some new habits can make all the difference. Let’s take a moment and make sure you and your loved ones are covered!
Zika is still a threat in Texas.
Though fewer cases of Zika are being recorded, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the threat of Zika transmission is still high, especially along the border, the Gulf Coast, and in urban areas where the mosquito that carries the virus is commonly found.
How do you get Zika?
Most reported cases of Zika are from an infected mosquito, but Zika also can be spread through blood transfusion and sexual transmission. Zika also can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy which can lead to severe birth defects including microcephaly. Sadly, children born with microcephaly have brains that may never develop properly, which could cause debilitating and life-long effects for children. For additional resources and recommendations for those who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, visit texaszika.org/pregnantwomen.htm.
Symptoms of Zika.
Most people, about 80%, who have the Zika virus don’t experience any symptoms. If you do experience symptoms, the most common ones are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes.
Prevent the spread of Zika.
We can all pitch in to help to prevent the spread of the Zika virus by taking simple steps to protect ourselves, our families and our communities.
EPA-approved insect repellents, when used as directed, are proven to be safe and effective for children and adults, even pregnant and breastfeeding women. This includes those with DEET. For children 2 months or younger, use a mosquito net to protect them from mosquito bites instead. Women who are pregnant should talk with their doctor if they have any questions or concerns.
Establishing a good routines is key! Here are some more suggestions to get you started:
Wear EPA-approved insect repellent.
Keep mosquitoes out of your home by using screens and closing doors.
Drain any standing water in and around your home, if possible.
Treat standing water that cannot be removed with larvicide, such as mosquito “dunks.”
Create barriers between you and mosquitoes.
Wear light-weight, long-sleeve shirts and pants.
Use screens on your windows and doors.
Use mosquito nets to protect babies younger than two months.
Protecting yourself while traveling.
Here are some things you can do to protect yourself and your family while traveling to areas where the Zika virus is active:
Wearing long sleeves and pants.
If the weather is hot, wear light-weight clothing.
Applying EPA-approved insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites.
Using screens or closing windows and doors at hotel rooms or places you’re staying.
If needed, use a mosquito net around your bed to keep mosquitoes away.
When preparing for an upcoming trip, be sure to visit TexasZika.org/travelers.htm for more information and resources to help protect you and your family from Zika.
When you return from your trip, continue using insect repellent for at least 21 days to prevent spreading the virus to your family and community, just in case you were infected. If you were infected while traveling, mosquitoes near your home may bite you and then transmit Zika to others through a mosquito bite.
The best protection to avoid Zika is to prevent mosquito breeding and protect yourself from mosquito bites. For additional tips and resources on Zika prevention, visit texaszika.org/prevention.htm.