Disclaimer: This post was sponsored but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
January is National Birth Defects Month and one way of preventing birth defects is through protection against bug bites.
If you’ve watched the news in the past two years, I’m sure you’ve heard the word “Zika”. And if you are familar with the word “Zika”, I can bet upon hearing it you immediately picture the babies with malformed heads. This “shrunken head syndrome” is a birth defect called microcephaly and occurs when a pregnant mother becomes infected with the zika virus. Scary, right? What’s even scarier is that the zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus which has become a huge epidemic in Central and South America. While the zika virus is extremely dangerous for pregnant women, due to the birth defects on the unborn child, it is not the only bug-borne infection that is cause for concern. Mosquitos can also carry and spread West Nile virus, Dengue virus and malaria, to name a few. Ticks also cause many infections, such as Lyme disease. All of these infections can be very dangerous for your unborn baby and taking steps to prevent bug bites, especially during pregnancy, is extremely important.
If you are anything like myself, then bugs just love to to “bug” you. I’ve read somewhere that mosquitos in fact, have an affinity for certain blood types more than other blood types. If this is indeed true, then my B+ blood type is a favorite of theirs because I can walk outside for a minute and become covered in mosquito bites! This problem often leads me to become a hermit, especially in the Summer months when mosquitos are out in full force. But one can not always avoid mosquitos, so we have to take measurements to protect ourselves!
Tips To Prevent Insect Bites
Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellant. Insect repellants, with active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus (paramenthane-3,8-diol), prevent bites by making people less attractive to mosquitos and ticks. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants during times mosquitos are most active. Mosquitos are most active at dusk and dawn while ticks are active at all times of the day, typically in warmer months. Minimizing areas of exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, boots, and hats can help prevent bites.
Avoid traveling to areas with Zika virus. Because Zika infection during pregnancy can cause severe birth defects, pregnant women should not travel to affected areas. Partners of pregnant women and couples considering pregnancy should know the risks to pregnancy and take prevention steps. All travelers should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and prevent sexual transmission during and after the trip. When traveling to visit friends or family, think about possible health risks during your trip. If Zika is in the area you are visiting, protect yourself and loved ones from mosquito bites.
For more information, visit the Center of Disease Control and Protection.