Traveling? Working Outside This Summer? Protect Yourself from Zika

Traveling? Working Outside This Summer? Protect Yourself from Zika

Cases of the Zika virus, a deadly virus spread by mosquitos, have declined in the U.S., though cases still appear in other places around the world. The best source of facts to stay up to date about Zika is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Zika website

According to the CDC, prevention   is one vital way to help stop the spread of Zika.

Are you working outside this summer?
 Zika Virus: What should you know?The Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA)   reports there are at least 25 states with the Aedes aegypti mosquito. This kind of mosquito is responsible for spreading the Zika virus, West Nile virus and other diseases.

Workers who are exposed on the job to mosquitoes, or to people with the virus like health care workers, may be at higher chance of getting Zika. Since there are no vaccines to protect against Zika, personal prevention, mosquito control and environmental cleanup may be the best ways to stop or slow the spread of the Zika virus.

If your job calls for you to work outdoors, you and your coworkers should take steps to help protect yourselves from mosquitoes.

  • Read the OSHA guidelines   for tips on how to stay safe as you work outside. The guidelines were created to help teach workers and their employers about the risks of exposure to the Zika virus.
  • If you work outdoors, take steps to help protect yourself from mosquitoes, such as using mosquito spray with DEET and wearing long pants, shirts, hats and gloves to limit skin exposure.
  • Get rid of sources of standing water to help eliminate mosquito breeding zones. Some good places to look are in tires, buckets, cans, bottles, and barrels.

Traveling for work?

When traveling, look to the CDC for guidance.  The CDC’s Traveler’s Health  website has tips for protecting yourself when you travel to Zika-affected areas.

OSHA also advises employers to think about being flexible in needed travel for workers worried about being exposed to the Zika virus.

You may want to talk to your employer about your travel. According to OSHA, employers that can be flexible about travel and leave policies may help control the spread of the Zika virus.

What else should I know about the Zika virus?

Get the latest Zika virus updates on the CDC’s Zika website

  • General facts about the Zika virus and disease
  • Zika virus information for health care providers
  • Travel notices about the Zika virus
  • Recommended mosquito repellents to prevent the spread of Zika
  • Information for pregnant women 

Remember to take your member ID card whether traveling for work or on vacation.

Do you have tips to help others prevent catching something when they travel or work outdoors? Sign in to share them here.

Sources: Zika Virus  website, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2019; Prevent Mosquito Bites Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2019; Interim Guidance for Protecting Workers from Occupational Exposure to Zika Virus Occupational Health and Safety Organization, 2016; Traveler’s Health, Zika Travel Information Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2019;  OSHA Zika Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Originally published on May 25, 2016.