With the rising dangers of Zika, it’s important that we avoid mosquitoes this summer, especially Americans in southern states. Here are a few Mindful tips for avoiding mosquitoes and protecting your health.
Zika is a virus that is spread by mosquitos. The Zika virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947, but recently it has caused a health epidemic that has affected South America and Central America. Now the virus is spreading and cases of Zika have been reported in the states and territories of the United States. Today the CDC is particularly worried about Florida and Texas, and the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary has declared a public health emergency in Puerto Rico because of Zika.
Avoiding mosquito bites is especially important due to the health effects of the Zika virus. When mosquitos bite pregnant women it can contribute to fetal birth defects—babies can be born with microcephaly and other brain defects. The Zika virus may also lead to Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an illness that affects the nervous system that leads to weakness in the arms and legs and in some case, paralysis.
Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites with the Mindful tips listed below.
- Use insect repellent. Keep insect repellent near you at all times while you’re outside. Make sure that you, your family, and your friends are completely covered. Check out this EPA link and find the best repellent for you and your family.
- Wear the right gear. Even though it’s hot outside wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants can protect you from mosquitos. If you plan on being outside for a long time, wear long-sleeved clothes that “wick away moisture,” so you can stay cool.
- Create a barrier for your home. Keep mosquitos from coming into your home by making sure you have a secure screen for all of your windows and doors. And don’t leave your doors ajar for too long because mosquitos can come in.
- Keep mosquitos from your yard. Mosquitos lay their eggs near standing water, so be sure to mosquito-proof your yard. Make sure that water isn’t pooling in flowerpots or trashcans. Beware of birdbaths and be sure to cover and clean your swimming pool regularly.