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Zika Mosquito Protection for Pregnant Women

July 30, 2016
Plain English Version
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - MARCH 04: Aedes aegypti mosquito, the species which transmits zika. Photo by William Volcov/Brazil Photo Press/LatinContent/Getty Images

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – MARCH 04: Aedes aegypti mosquito, the species which transmits zika. Photo by William Volcov/Brazil Photo Press/LatinContent/Getty Images

Some yellow-fever mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus will arrive here this summer. They will arrive first along the Gulf Coast. Then they will spread to other parts of the country.

Health officials are urging people to use insect repellents with DEET. Users of repellents are less likely to suffer bites from mosquitoes.

There appears to be a clear link between the Zika mosquito and birth defects. That raises the question for pregnant women. Is it safe to use an insect repellant that contains DEET?

The answer is yes. As long as the instructions are followed and you do not use too much.

Few studies looked at the way DEET affects pregnant women. There are no studies of women while they are in the first trimester of their pregnancy. During the first trimester is when most birth defects occur. But experts are quite certain DEET is safe.

A doctor said, “It makes sense to use DEET to protect yourself.  Because we know Zika is truly unsafe.”

A study did say that DEET rarely made its way to the mother’s placenta.  The study said that the newborns were not affected. They had normal growth and development after exposure to DEET.

An official with the U.S. government commented. He said, “DEET is safe, including for pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy.”

The advice is to use lower concentrations of DEET. A doctor said, “Using a 6 percent DEET product will last two hours. A 20 percent one will last close to four hours. Why not use the lower concentration and apply more often?”

Products that use DEET include “Cutter,” “Off!” and “Repel.” Please read and follow the instructions.

Source: The New York Times April 4, 2016

 

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