As we make our way through spring and soon head into the summer months, mosquito season is in full force. Mosquitoes are known to carry the Zika virus which can cause fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The Zika virus infection is most dangerous for pregnant women because it can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects.
This spring has been filled with heavy rains, which means the mosquitoes are more rampant than ever. The Texas Poison Center Network wants you to know what you can do to help eliminate being infected by the Zika virus. Here are a few steps you can take to help eliminate mosquitoes breeding around your home:
· Remove standing water, as this is where mosquitoes breed. This includes pet water bowls, flower pots, buckets, birdbaths, trashcans, and rain barrels. Once a week, remove standing water around your home and wash out the container the water was in. This way you also get rid of any mosquito eggs waiting to hatch.
· If you need to store water outside, make sure it is covered with a tight lid to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in it.
If you are finding lots of mosquitoes already around your home, follow these steps to help eliminate your chances of being bitten:
· Wear long sleeved shirts and pants.
· Stay inside
· Use insect repellents with DEET and make sure to follow directions on the bottle. (DEET repellent is not recommended for younger than two months of age)
If you are pregnant, check out this link from the CDC that contains important steps to take to stay free of the Zika virus: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/pdfs/zika-pregnancy.pdf.
If you have questions about the Zika virus, or you are concerned you might have contracted it, contact the Texas Poison Center Network at 1-800-222-1222.