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How to Protect Yourself

Are you pregnant? Here’s what you can do to protect yourself if you don’t currently live in an area with Zika

1. Avoid travel to an area with Zika

  • Until we know more, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women. Women who are pregnant should not travel to any area where Zika virus is spreading.
  • If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.

2. Take steps to prevent mosquito bites.

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. When used as directed, these insect repellents are proven safe and effective even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
  • Remove or stay away from mosquito breeding sites, like containers with standing water.

3. Take steps to prevent getting Zika through sex

  • Until more is known, pregnant women with male sex partners who have lived in or traveled to an area with Zika virus should either use a condom every time they have sex or not have sex during the pregnancy. To be effective, condoms must be used correctly (warning: this link contains sexually graphic images) from start to finish, every time during sex. This includes vaginal, anal, or oral (mouth-to-penis) sex or do not have sex during the pregnancy. 
  • If a pregnant woman is concerned that her male partner(s) may have or had Zika virus infection, she should talk to her doctor or other healthcare provider. She should tell her doctor or other healthcare provider about her male partner’s travel history, including how long he stayed, whether or not he took steps to prevent getting mosquito bites, and if she had sex with him without a condom since his return.
  • Women trying to get pregnant and their male partners should talk to their doctor or other healthcare provider before traveling to areas with Zika. Because sexual transmission is possible, both men and women should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.

4. See a doctor or other healthcare provider

  • Pregnant women who have recently traveled to an area with Zika should talk to a doctor or other healthcare provider about their travel even if they don’t feel sick.
  • It is especially important that pregnant women see a doctor or other healthcare provider if they develop a fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes during their trip or within 2 weeks after traveling to an area where Zika has been reported. They should tell the doctor or other healthcare provider where they traveled.
  • CDC has guidance to help doctors decide what tests are needed for pregnant women who may have been exposed to Zika.

Are you pregnant? Here’s what you can do if you live in an area with Zika

1. See a doctor or other healthcare provider

  • You are at risk of getting Zika throughout your pregnancy. For this reason, doctors or other healthcare providers can offer testing at the first prenatal visit and a second test in the second trimester.
  • If you have symptoms of Zika (fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes)) at any time during your pregnancy, you should be tested for Zika. A doctor or other healthcare provider may also test for other similar diseases, like dengue or chikungunya.
  • CDC has guidance to help doctors decide what tests are needed for pregnant women who may have been exposed to Zika.

2. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika. The best way to prevent Zika is to prevent mosquito bites.

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. When used as directed, these insect repellents are proven safe and effective even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
  • Remove or stay away from mosquito breeding sites, like containers with standing water.

3. Take steps to prevent getting Zika through sex

  • Until more is known, pregnant women with male sex partners who live in or travel to an area with Zika should use a condom every time they have sex or not have sex during the pregnancy. To be effective, condoms must be used correctly (warning: this link contains sexually graphic images) from start to finish, every time during sex. This includes vaginal, anal, or oral (mouth-to-penis) sex.
  • If a pregnant woman is concerned that her male partner may have or had a Zika virus infection, she should talk to her doctor or other healthcare provider. 

If you are not pregnant, but you live in an area with Zika, here’s what you can do

1. Talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider

  • Women who want to get pregnant should talk with their doctor or other healthcare provider about their goals for having children. They should also talk with their doctor or other healthcare provider about the potential risk of Zika virus during pregnancy as well as their male partner’s potential exposures to Zika virus.
  • Women who do not want to get pregnant should talk with their doctor or other healthcare provider about ways to prevent unintended pregnancy, including how to use birth control the right way every time. Women should consider safety, effectiveness, availability, and acceptability when choosing a birth control method.  

2. Take steps to prevent mosquito bites 

3. Take care of yourself if you get infected.

Because there is no specific medicine to treat Zika, a woman with Zika should

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration
  • Consider taking medicine to reduce fever and pain

To help keep others from getting sick, you should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.

4. Take steps to prevent getting Zika through sex

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