UPDATE: As of August 10th, 2016, there have been 328 CDC-confirmed cases of Zika virus in Florida, with 6 of them being acquired locally.
It’s February, and 50°F outside, yet a case of Zika virus has been confirmed in nearby Osceola County. The rest of the country is still frigid, but Florida remains vulnerable, since mosquitoes are the main transmitter of the virus. What can you do to help prevent the spread?
Here are some of the steps outlined by the CDC that you can take to control the mosquito population and prevent mosquito bites, in turn helping to prevent the spread of the Zika virus in Florida:
- Eliminate standing water around your home. Fewer mosquitoes means fewer chances to transmit any viruses. The mosquito that carries the Zika virus hatches from water-activated eggs, making Florida their dream home. It takes about a week in standing water for the eggs to hatch, so the sooner you drain the standing water, the better. Check pools, birdbaths, old tires, garbage cans, flower pots, etc.
- Keep mosquitoes out of your home. Make sure all window and door screens are intact to prevent mosquitoes from getting into your home. If you do not have window and door screens, consider using mosquito netting over your bed at night to keep them from biting you while you sleep.
- Use EPA-Registered insect repellent with one of the following active ingredients. Do not use these repellents on children younger than 2 months of age. Al’s carries repellent with DEET(Ben’s) and Picaridin (Natrapel). We also carry Thermacell mosquito repellent products.
- Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and closed-toe shoes. This will help prevent mosquitoes from biting your skin. For extra protection, tuck your pants into your socks. This also works for ticks in areas with a high deer population. Columbia Sportswear makes great long-sleeved shirts that protect you from bugs and also sunburn.
Taking these few simple steps to help control your local mosquito population and keep yourself and your family from mosquito bites will go a long way in preventing the spread of not only the Zika virus, but also Dengue fever and the Chikungunya virus.