By Chaitanya Bala
If you’ve been following the news, you’ve probably heard about the rampant Zika Virus, which is transmitted to humans by mosquito bites. Although the virus isn’t deadly to grown adults, they can still get sick from it, and pregnant women can be greatly affected. The virus has been linked to the prevalence of microcephaly, a disease that can cause severe birth defects and has been known to cause premature death in infants. Recently, the virus has caused much alarm in Brazil, and has been rapidly spreading to other countries in the Americas, and even a few places in the U.S. With the World Health Organization anticipating up to 4 million people in the Americas being exposed to the Zika Virus by the end of the year, it’s no surprise that people are cancelling their exotic trips. But, you may not have to if you take precautions. That’s why we reached out to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for some input, and came up with a few great safety tips so you can stroll across the tropical seaside with a smile on your face and the peace of mind you need to fully enjoy your trip.
Sunscreen, check. Toiletries, check. You have almost everything! But what you really need to stock up on is mosquito repellent. With mosquitos being a prime carrier of the Zika Virus, you’ll want to do whatever you can to make sure they’re nowhere close to you. When we spoke to a CDC representative, she indicated that it is imperative the mosquito repellent contain DEET, a chemical composition which is effective for keeping mosquitos away from you. Repel 100 is a great and affordable option for you to make sure those little pests keep their distance. If the smell of bug sprays puts you off, there are plenty of light, natural mosquito repellents out there for you as well, such as Repel: Lemon Eucalyptus.
Although shielding yourself with a sweatshirt and full-legged pants under the hot, tropic sun might seem completely counterintuitive, this is a smart decision for you to take right now. Pleasant temperatures mean mosquitos and other pests thrive and survive longer, increasing your risk of getting bitten. If you’re not disappointed with the idea of having to cover up at the beach, you can even take it a step further. The CDC recommends you treat your clothing with permethrin, a potent insecticide, which allows your clothing to remain protective, even after multiple washes. If wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt at the beach is a huge deal breaker for you, you can at least stay protected by draping yourself in shawls or beach towels.
Guard yourself at night
We definitely get it; you can’t always be on mosquito patrol during vacation. You didn’t come all the way to a beautiful beach to stay up all night and swat mosquitos away from you. You need to get some sleep so you can be well-rested for a full day of adventures. While the CDC recommends staying in places that are well-ventilated with air conditioning and door screens to keep mosquitos away, we realize that’s not always an amenity everywhere. If this is the case, let a mosquito net do the work for you. Priced at under $27, these nets are easy to carry, set up, and ultimately, they can give you that extra assurance you need so you are not being exposed to the Zika Virus. Check out some best-selling mosquito nets right here.
Preventative measures are great to take, but they are never 100% fool-proof. On the off chance that you do get stung by a disease-carrying mosquito and need to make a trip to the local hospital, you definitely want to make sure you are covered. If you’re thinking you’re fine because you already have existing health insurance, think again. Most plans do not provide coverage outside the United States. If you’re out in the middle of nowhere when you get extremely ill and need immediate medical attention, you may need to get flown out to the nearest hospital that can treat you. Travel insurance can help you out in all of these areas. When you are looking for travel insurance, make sure to pay close attention to the medical benefits available in your destination. Learn more about our travel insurance offerings and what we can do for you.
It’s understandable if you are in a state of panic due to this large epidemic that has struck the Americas. However, by following all these measures, you’ve got a great chance at having the vacation of your dreams without the worry of getting sick!