Sand, Sun, and…Skeeters?
If you’re planning spring break travel, plan for mosquitoes!
Popular spring break destinations like Mexico and the Caribbean are included in the CDC’s list of areas with active Zika virus transmission, and may also be under travel advisories for other mosquito-borne illnesses like chikunguna, dengue, and malaria. A full list of travel advisories from the CDC is available at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices.
If you decide to travel to a country where mosquito-borne illness is currently transmitted, there are a few things you can do to make your trip a little safer:
- ask your healthcare provider about preventing yellow fever or malaria
- pack your own mosquito repellent - it may be expensive or difficult to find at your destination
- bring long pants, closed toe shoes, and long sleeves to keep mosquitoes off your skin
- if possible, stay in hotels with air conditioning or screened windows; if not, use a mosquito net
After you return home, remember to take precautions against transmitting mosquito-borne illnesses to others in your community. Wear insect repellent for 3 weeks and practice safe sex (for 6 months for men or 8 weeks for women) – even if you don’t feel sick. Most infections with Zika, chikungunya, and dengue are asymptomatic, so you may be able to infect others even if you feel fine.
As always, see a healthcare provider if you become ill after travel. Make sure your doctor knows what areas you’ve visited and whether you remember getting any mosquito bites while you were there.