As tens of thousands of HISD families and staff members get ready for summer break, HISD and the City of Houston Health Department are teaming up to bring awareness to the Zika virus, particularly to those who may be traveling outside the United States in the next few months.
Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, which can bite during the day or night. Most people who get the virus do not get sick. However, Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus, and the infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects.
HISD schools have been provided with informational flyers from the Houston Health Department to distribute to families and staff before the last day of school and during summer school. The flyers bring awareness to the virus and to the ways it can be prevented.
There is no vaccine for the Zika virus, but you can protect yourself by following the 3D Zika Defense Plan which consists of:
- Once a week, empty items that hold water such as flower pots, toys, trash or old tires.
- Keep your yard trimmed and tidy.
- Help your neighbors drain standing water.
- As weather permits, dress in long pants and long sleeve shirts.
- Make sure doors and window screens are in good repair.
- Use air conditioning when available.
- Spray insect repellent with DEET on exposed skin.
- Follow label instructions; reapply as needed.
- Use a mosquito net to protect babies in a stroller or car seat.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that pregnant women do not travel to areas where there is a Zika virus outbreak. In addition to the Southern United States, there have been outbreaks of the virus in the parts of the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Individuals traveling to these areas over the summer should take precaution, particularly pregnant women.
For more information on Zika, visit the Houston Health Department’s website.