Prevention: How to Avoid Getting or Spreading Zika

You can get Zika if you travel to an area where there is a risk of Zika or if you have sex with someone who lives in or traveled to an area with Zika. Here’s how to protect yourself:

  • Prevent Mosquito Bites
    • Use insect repellents consistently and correctly:
      • DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide the longest-lasting protection.
      • If you use sunscreen, apply the sunscreen first and then the repellent.
      • Do not apply insect repellent on skin under your clothing.
      • Treat clothing with permethrin or buy permethrin-treated clothing.
      • Reapply sunscreen and repellent according to the label instructions.
      • Continue using insect repellent for 3 weeks after you return from an area with Zika. This helps prevent the local spread of Zika from mosquitoes that might bite you.
    • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when weather permits.
    • Use air conditioning or window screens to keep mosquitoes outside. If there are mosquitoes indoors, sleep under a mosquito bed net.
    • Empty standing water from containers such as flowerpots or buckets around your home or hotel (if traveling). Mosquitoes can lay their eggs in even small amounts of water.
  • Prevent Sexual Transmission
    • Not having sex (abstinence) eliminates the risk of getting Zika from sex.
    • Condoms can reduce the chance of getting Zika from sex if used correctly from start to finish, every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral (mouth-to-penis) sex.
    • Dental dams (latex or polyurethane sheets) may also be used for certain types of oral sex (mouth to vagina or mouth to anus).
    • Not sharing sex toys may reduce the risk of spreading Zika to sex partners.
  • Prevent Zika Infection in Pregnancy
    • Pregnant women and their partners should not travel to areas where there is a risk of Zika.
    • Pregnant women whose sex partners live in or have traveled to an area with Zika should use condoms during sex or abstain from sex for the rest of the pregnancy.
    • People who are planning a pregnancy should wait at least 8 weeks (for women) or at least 6 months (for men) after last possible exposure to Zika virus before trying to become pregnant, even if they do not have symptoms. If they do have symptoms, they should follow these same waiting periods from the time that symptoms start. During any wait time, use condoms and effective birth control.