Traveling to Zika-Risk Areas? Here’s How to Protect Yourself

How to protect yourself from Zika virus
Flickr/Eric Romer

If you’re traveling to areas of the globe that carry health risks, it pays to be prepared. Mosquito-borne illnesses such as malaria, Dengue fever and West Nile virus are still a challenge throughout the globe. The latest danger, however, comes from a newer mosquito-borne illness called Zika virus. The virus is causing serious concerns in Brazil as well as the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and South America where it has been linked to a rise in a phenomenon called microcephaly.

No cases of locally transmitted Zika cases have been reported in the continental United States, however, some cases have been reported in returning travelers in Puerto Rico, Illinois, Texas and Florida. One case of microcephaly has been linked to Zika and reported in Hawaii.

Because there is no vaccine for Zika, the CDC recommends protection from mosquito bites including the use of permethrin treated clothing (such as Insect Shield.)

How to Protect Yourself from Zika Virus

The CDC provides these recommendation if you’re traveling to zika-prone areas:

  • Use insect repellents
  • If you use both sunscreen and insect repellents, apply the sunscreen first and then the repellent
  • Don’t spray the insect repellent on your skin under clothing
  • Treat clothing with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated clothing.

Repellent clothing such as Insect Shield can be a big help if you’re traveling to areas with many mosquitos.

For more information, see the CDC’s website at:

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Janna Graber

Janna Graber is an award-winning American travel journalist and current editor of Go World Travel Magazine. Since moving to Austria at age 19 for college, she's been in love with world travel, and has covered destinations around the globe for more than 55 newspapers, magazines and websites. She's the author of three travel anthology books, including "A Pink Suitecase: 22 Tales of Women's Travel".
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