The potential risk for Texans to obtain the Zika virus has increased. As of August 3rd, the Texas Department of State Health Services released an alert stating 93 cases have been reported thus far. With travel to Brazil for the Summer Olympics and local reports in Florida skyrocketing, Texas is prepared. “If Texas has local transmission, we’ll quickly announce it and describe the area of potential risk for Texans,” State Health Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt said. “We’re working in lockstep with our local and federal partners to ensure a strong Texas response.”
What You Can Do
Texas is at its height of mosquito season with a strong possibility of local transmission. As Dr. Hellerstedt suggests, the best way to arm yourself from Zika is with mosquito repellent and information. Here are some of the best tips to stay safe and healthy for the remainder of the mosquito season.
- Insect repellent is your friend! Be sure to use an EPA-approved repellent. If you’re in the Texas heat often, you are probably going to sweat off your repellent, so try to keep a can with you for reapplication if needed.
- We know, it’s hot out there. But wearing pants and long-sleeve shirts that cover exposed skin is one of the best ways to prevent bites. In warmer weather, wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. With tighter, form-fitting clothing, mosquitos can still access your skin.
- Use screens or closed windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
- Remove standing water in and around the home. This includes water in cans, toys, tires, plant saucers, and any container that can hold water. Cover trash cans or containers where water can collect. The amount of standing water in a bottle cap is enough to breed mosquitos!
- Practice safe sex. Although there has been only one reported case of sexual transmission of the Zika virus in Texas, it is best for those who are pregnant or who intend to become pregnant to abstain from sex or use condoms.
Good news for women on Texas Medicaid! The state will be covering the cost of mosquito repellent for women between 10 and 45 years old and who are pregnant. Protect yourself!