Few things can annoy as much as the sound of a buzzing mosquito. These pests are more than bothersome, however. Some mosquitos can make you sick. And at least one of these illnesses—the Zika virus—can harm unborn infants as well.
According to TexasZika.org, Zika is a virus that spreads through the bite of certain types of mosquitoes.The Zika virus can cause symptoms such as:
- joint pain and
- red or pink eyes.
While 80% of people do not experience symptoms or become sick, there are certain groups that are more at risk. You are more at risk of become infected with the virus if you are:
- traveling or
- working outside.
Like any other virus, Zika can be spread. It is spread through blood transfusions, sex and during pregnancy if the mother is infected.
There is no Zika vaccine or treatment currently available, so protect yourself. Use insect repellent and cover up when possible. Visit TexasZika.org for more information.
Although there have only been a few statewide cases in 2018, the long Texas summers will increase the chances of coming in contact with Zika-spreading mosquitos.
Fortunately, we can take steps to protect ourselves from mosquito bites. We can even take steps to prevent mosquitos from breeding.
- Use EPA-approved insect repellent. Apply and reapply during peak mosquito times.
- Cover up! Wear long sleeves, pants, socks and hats to cover exposed skin.
- Limit how much time you spend outside during peak mosquito times. In most areas of the United States, mosquitos like to come out as soon as the sun goes down.
Protect your home
- Remove standing water. Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitos. Empty water from pots and other containers; change your pet’s water dish every day.
- Make sure your screens are intact—no tiny holes! If you can, close all your windows and turn on the air conditioner.
- Work with your neighbors to monitor mosquito activity. Find out who to call if you need assistance. This resource from the National Pesticide Information Center might be helpful.
ERS Employee News About Your Benefits (July 2018)