Remember to stay aware, prepare when traveling to Zika-prone locations

The CDC recommends wearing an insect repellent with one of these active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone. Courtesy of Facebook

For many, the cold winter months mean travel to warmer climates around the world.  But with holiday travel, comes certain health concerns with the Zika virus still prevalent in popular destinations.

As of Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that there are more than 37,700 confirmed cases of the Zika virus in U.S. states and territories.

Of the 37,700 cases, 4,496 are in U.S. states and 33,259 are in U.S. territories.  California has the third highest number of confirmed cases at 368, following Florida at 969 and New York at 921.  According to the CDC, all of the confirmed California cases are travel-associated.

The virus, transmitted mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, usually creates no symptoms or mild symptoms for those infected.

According to eh CDC, common mild symptoms includes fever, rash, joint pain, red eyes, muscle pain and headache.

The CDC recommends that people prepare to defend themselves against the virus when traveling to areas with Travel Notices, including Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, the Pacific Islands and South America.

“The best way to prevent Zika is to prevent mosquito bites,” the CDC said.

This means using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellants with active ingredients like DEET, wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants, using screens on windows and doors and treating clothes with permethrin.

The CDC also recommends that pregnant women or women trying to become pregnant should not visit places where the Zika virus is present.

If concerned after travel, people can be tested by their doctors for the virus.

“Zika virus testing is performed at CDC and some state and territorial health departments,” the CDC said online.  “See your doctor if you have Zika symptoms and have recently been in an area with Zika.”

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