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Protecting Yourself from Zika Virus When Traveling - 02/29/2016

Protecting Yourself from Zika Virus When Traveling

Johns Hopkins expert offers tips for prevention
Release Date: February 29, 2016

People looking forward to a warm, sunny vacation may want to pack insect repellent for their trip.

Zika virus has emerged as a major health concern in certain areas of the world. So how can people traveling to Zika-affected areas and other warmer climates protect themselves?

The key, according to a Johns Hopkins Medicine expert, is to keep the mosquitoes away. Here is some useful information:

  • Clothing:
    • Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
    • Wear clothing treated with permethrin.
  • Insect Repellant:
    • Apply Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved insect repellent to areas of exposed skin. Mosquito repellents containing DEET are considered the most effective. Insect repellents that contain ingredients such as oil of citronella, picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus also provide protection.
    • When using sunscreen and insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first.
    • Insect repellent containing a concentration of 30% DEET provides protection for two to four hours. Higher concentrations of DEET can last up to six hours.
    • Be sure to reapply insect repellent if you will be outside for an extended period of time or if you are engaging in water activities.
    • Remove insect repellent by washing treated skin thoroughly with soap and water.

      (See a YouTube interview below with Dr. Crystal Aguh on Zika virus.)


  • For children:
    • Do not use insect repellent with a concentration of more than 30% DEET.
    • Avoid hands, eyes, mouths, or cut or irritated skin when applying to children.
    • Insect repellents are not recommended for children younger than 2 months old.
  • For pregnant women:
    • Insect repellent containing DEET and picaridin are considered safe for women to use during pregnancy.

Journalists can download raw sound bites, B-roll video and an anchor script here. For more information, please visit the Johns Hopkins Medicine Zika virus information website.

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