How to Protect Yourself from Zika Virus: What You Need to Know from a Johns Hopkins Expert

How to Protect Yourself from Zika Virus: What You Need to Know from a Johns Hopkins Expert


[MUSIC] The best way to protect yourself
against Zika virus is to avoid travel to areas that
are affected by the virus. But if travel to those
areas is unavoidable, then using mosquito
repellent and wearing protective clothing is
the best method of defense. [MUSIC] Insect repellents containing
DEET are generally considered to be the most effective. However, a higher concentration
of DEET does not necessarily mean that it’s more effective. It’s simply means
that it lasts longer. For instance, insect repellents
containing DEET of 30% are not necessarily less effective than
those containing 50% and so on. Other ingredients commonly found
in insect repellents include oil of citronella,
permethrin, picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus. [MUSIC] In general, insect repellents
containing DEET are safe to use both on children and
during pregnancy. Because pregnant women are
considered at highest risk for the most severe side
effects of the Zika virus, insect repellents containing
DEET are recommended for use during pregnancy. While any concentration of DEET
is safe to use during pregnancy, for children, you have to be
a little bit more cautious. The American Academy of
Pediatrics recommends using insect repellents that contain
a maximum of 30% DEET, and they do not recommend using it
in children younger than two months of age. [MUSIC] You should only apply a thin
layer of insect repellent to exposed areas on the skin and
generally avoid the eyes and other mucus membranes because
it can cause irritation. Insect repellents containing
a concentration of 30% DEET tend to last between two and
four hours, and higher concentration can
last up to six hours. So you should only reapply if
you expect to be outdoors for extended periods of time or if you are engaging
in water activities. [MUSIC] If you notice a mosquito bite,
you can use over the counter cortisone creams or
antihistamine creams. You should generally avoid
scratching the bite, as it can lead to tears in the skin and
in rare cases, skin infection. [MUSIC] Other ways to protect yourself
from mosquito bites include wearing long sleeves and
long pants. Additionally, you can also wear
permethrin-treated clothing to provide additional protection
against mosquito bites. [MUSIC]

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