How to Lower Risk of Zika with Extended Mosquito Season in Texas

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with The Motherhood on behalf of Texas Department of State Health Services.

After coming home with at least 5 or 6 mosquito bites upon every visit to my parents’ house, I recently helped my dad plan Citronella and Mint under his front porch. The mosquitoes are terrible all over, but they seem to love his front porch. We absolutely cannot walk outside without bug spray on when visiting. You can imagine the concern this caused when my mom was going through chemo.

How to Lower Risk of Zika

Lower Risk of Zika

Unfortunately here in Texas, mosquito season is a year-round concern due to our warmer climate. Where cold weather may have limited mosquito activity, the return of warm weather will mean a resurgence in mosquitoes. Therefore, the Zika virus is a serious concern for all of us beginning in the summer and continuing through the late fall. Although there have been fewer cases reported this year—due to a variety of reasons—we still can’t let our guard down yet. There is still a cause for concern. Not only are those with suppressed immune systems, like my mom, at risk, but Zika also can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy which can lead to severe birth defects. To make matters worse, there is currently no treatment or vaccine for the Zika virus. For more information on transmission, visit texaszika.org/transmission.htm .

Year-round warm weather in many parts of Texas leads to a year-round mosquito season. Tell Zika to buzz off with the six simple steps found in this video:

How can we protect ourselves and our loved ones from Zika?

We can protect ourselves, our families and our communities from the Zika virus by taking simple steps and making them a part of our daily routines:

  • Wear EPA-approved insect repellent.
  • Keep mosquitoes out of your home by using screens and closing doors.
  • Drain any standing water in and around your home, if possible.
  • Treat standing water that cannot be removed with larvicide, such as mosquito “dunks.”
  • Create barriers between you and mosquitoes.
    • Wear light-weight, long-sleeve shirts and pants.
    • Use screens on your windows and doors.
    • Use mosquito nets to protect babies younger than two months.
  • Draining standing water in and around the house will help eliminate mosquito breeding grounds.
    • This is particularly important because the mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus prefer to live near people.
    • These mosquitoes also can breed in as little as a tablespoon of water, making it vitally important that each of us look around our homes to remove any standing water, if possible.

The best protection to avoid Zika is to prevent mosquito breeding and protect yourself from mosquito bites. For example, use EPA-approved insect repellents, when used as directed, are proven to be safe and effective for children and adults, even pregnant and breastfeeding women. Additionally, pregnant women and women seeking to become pregnant can protect themselves and their families from the Zika virus by taking simple steps, such as wearing long sleeves and pants to further help prevent mosquito bites. Find out more at TexasZika.org

newborn baby feet

Again, one of the biggest concerns with the virus is that it can be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy and can lead to severe birth defects, including microcephaly. For additional resources and recommendations for those who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, visit texaszika.org/pregnantwomen.htm.

Children born with microcephaly have brains that may never develop properly, which could cause debilitating and life-long effects for children.

We can all do our part to prevent the spread of the Zika virus by taking simple steps to protect ourselves, our families and our communities. For example, when you return from a Zika hot spot, continue using insect repellent for at least 21 days. If you’ve been infected with Zika, this will help prevent a mosquito from biting you and then spreading the virus to your family and community.

Watch the following videos to learn more about preventing the spread of the Zika virus:

  • What is Zika? – Zika is a mosquito-borne virus and Texans are at risk. Take a closer look at the Zika virus and watch this video to learn more about why you should protect yourself and your family today.
  • The Zika Virus and Pregnancy – Did you know the Zika virus can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy? If you’re pregnant, take extra precautions to prevent mosquito bites to help protect your unborn baby from Zika-related birth defects like microcephaly. Watch to learn more.
  • Keeping Zika Off Your Property – The types of mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus can breed in as little as one tablespoon of water. Dump standing water anywhere you find it and tell Zika to buzz off your property. Watch for ideas about where to begin!

For additional tips and resources on Zika prevention, visit texaszika.org/prevention.htm.

**Originally published on Oct 17, 2017