Doctor recommends “Zika Prevention Kit”

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — While doctors in Florida investigate what could be the first Zika virus infection caused by a mosquito in the United States, doctors in Alabama want you to be prepared.

In many ways, the Zika virus is still a mystery. Doctors are working to come up with a vaccine, while still learning about the effects of the virus and methods of transmission.

But according to Dr. Andrea Pincham-Benton with American Family Care in Birmingham, it can be simple to keep mosquitoes that may carry the virus at bay.

Pincham-Benton suggests assembling a “Zika prevention kit,” with items that can be purchased at a drug store: A bug spray containing DEET, picaridin or oil of eucalyptus; a yellow “bug light” for outdoor fixtures, as the color does not attract bugs as incandescent bulbs can; and disinfectant wipes.

As scientists examine mosquitoes more closely now than ever, they’ve discovered a few new methods to repel the pest.

“If you spray your clothes (with bug spray) 24 hours before you go outside, that seems to be much more effective than spraying your skin,” Pincham-Benton said. “And after your jogging, don’t stay sweaty for hours. Try to shower as quickly as you can, because the lactic acid is attracting the mosquitoes.”

Pincham-Benton also said that pregnant women tend to attract more mosquitoes because they exhale more carbon monoxide, and mosquitoes also tend to prefer people with Type O blood. People with Type A blood attract the fewest mosquitoes.

Finally, “Believe it or not, drinking a cold beer on a hot afternoon can raise your body temperature which will draw the mosquitoes to you, for some unknown reason.”

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