As the threat of the Zika Virus spreads, it is important to know how to protect yourself and how not to get scammed by products claiming to offer protection when they are actually not very useful.
Since 2015, sales of products claiming to protect users from Zika are up 650 percent. The Doctors examine a slew of items on the market including a bracelet that many pregnant women in Florida are buying and wearing believing that it will shield them from mosquitoes and the possibility of contracting the virus. The Doctors say these bracelets do not cover enough of your skin, making them highly ineffective in warding off insects.
The Doctors note some questionable buzz words that products use to entice buyers into a false sense of security, including the words: “safe,” “safe for kids,” “safe for adults.” ER physician Dr. Travis Stork also points out that Vitamin B patches and essential oil stickers, which some claim can protect from mosquitoes, are not proven to be effective.
So what does work to fend off mosquitoes, which can carry the Zika Virus? According to The Center for Disease Control and The Environmental Protection Agency, products with DEET, Picardin, oil of lemon eucalyptus and Permethrin – which is used in protective clothing – are most effective. Dermatologist Dr. Sonia Batra recommends that when applying both sunscreen and insect repellent to put on the sunscreen first and then layer on the repellent.
In case you need a Zika refresher, the virus is spread through mosquito bites, unprotected sex with someone who is infected, a pregnant infected mother to her fetus and – though unlikely – a blood transfusion. The virus can cause the brain defect microcephaly in unborn babies and had been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare disorder that can cause muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.
Zika symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis, muscle pain and headache.
For more information on the virus, visit the CDC’s Zika website.