The Zika Virus: How to Protect Yourself


Mosquitoes that spread Zika are aggressive daytime biters, and live indoors and outdoors near people. There is no vaccine or medicine available for Zika virus. Zika infection may cause birth defects. Travelers to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are at risk of being infected.

The best way to avoid Zika is to prevent mosquito bites.

  • No vaccine exists to prevent Zika virus disease.

  • Prevent Zika by avoiding mosquito bites.

  • Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus bite mostly during the daytime.

  • Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus also spread dengue and chikungunya viruses.

When traveling to countries where Zika virus or other viruses spread by mosquitoes are found, take the following steps:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

  • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.

  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. All EPA-registered insect.

Repellents are evaluated for effectiveness.

  • Always follow the product label instructions

  • Reapply insect repellent as directed.

  • Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.

  • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.

If you have a baby or child:

  • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age.

  • Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs, or

  • Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.

  • Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.

  • Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.

Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items.

  • Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See product information to learn how long the protection will last.

  • If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.

  • Do NOT use permethrin products directly on skin. They are intended to treat clothing.

If you have Zika, protect others from getting sick.

  • During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.

  • To help prevent others from getting sick, avoid mosquito bites during the first week of illness.


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