I’m sure some of you are wondering about the Zika virus and whether or not it will affect your travels to Mexico. First off, I do take the health of our traveling Nomooners very seriously, but I also believe that the Zika virus does not pose an extraordinary threat to our travelers in Mexico. I, myself, was there visiting in January and May 2016. I was bitten by mosquitoes (they love me, I swear), but I was fine. That is not to say that you should go there without some basic knowledge of the virus and preventative measures.
Here is a broad breakdown of the Zika virus and a guideline:
What is the Zika Virus and How do I Get It?
The Zika Virus is a mosquito-borne viral infection. The spread of the virus may be linked to birth defects (micocephaly) thus prompting countries to possibly advise pregnant women against going to the areas where it has been detected.
Zika cannot be transmitted through the air, food, or water, however, it can be transmitted through sex.
Is there a vaccine?
There is currently no vaccine or medicine for Zika. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites.
What is Level 2 Travel Alert?
The Centers for Disease Control issued a Level 2 Travel Alert: Practice Enhanced Precautions for those traveling to affected regions. Level 2 means “enhanced precautions”, but not “high-risk”.
Guidelines or Preventative Measures?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, here are some preventative measures:
- Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE, also called para-menthane-diol [PMD]), or IR3535.
- Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.
- Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.
- Mosquito netting can be used to cover babies younger than 2 months old in carriers, strollers, or cribs to protect them from mosquito bites.
Because Zika can be sexually transmitted, if you have sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) while traveling, you should use condoms.
If you are still unsure about the virus and want more information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.