Next time you are fishing or hiking in Kentucky, expect to see warnings about the Zika virus.
The Department for Public Health is working with Kentucky Fish & Wildlife and State Parks to inform residents about the risks of exposure to the Zika virus through mosquito bites and how to stay safe in the outdoors throughout the spring and summer season.
“It is important that everyone act to protect yourself and your loved ones this summer from mosquito bites and potential illnesses that mosquitoes may carry,” said Dr. Ardis Hoven, Infectious Disease specialist for the Kentucky Department for Public Health.
The commonwealth is suggesting the following tips:
Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants. In warmer weather wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that covers exposed skin. Wear socks that cover the ankles and lower legs.
Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellents such as DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. When used as directed these are safe and effective, even for pregnant and breast-feeding women. Always follow directions, and reapply as directed. Apply sunscreen prior to insect repellent if using both.
Do not use insect repellents on babies under two months of age. Instead, dress your baby in clothing that covers the arms and legs, or cover crib, stroller, or carrier with mosquito netting.
Treat clothing and gear with permethrin. Do not use permethrin directly on your skin.
We encourage state park guests and anyone who will be outside this summer to take these precautions to prevent mosquito bites,” said Donnie Holland, commissioner, Kentucky State Parks. “It’s a good idea to keep these steps in mind when you make plans to camp, hike or play outside.”
“We want families to enjoy Kentucky’s great outdoors this summer,” said Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Gregory Johnson. “These simple, common sense precautions will help protect people against illnesses borne by both mosquitoes and ticks.”
DPH recently launched its “Fight the Bite Day and Night” campaign to provide information to the public about the Zika virus and ways to avoid being bitten by the mosquitoes that carry it. Currently, no Kentuckians have acquired the Zika virus infection through local transmission in Kentucky. Careful prevention is key to preventing a public health emergency in our Commonwealth!