Traveling Soon? Stay Safe With These Tips

The California Dept. of Public Health provided some great tips last month for travelers visiting places that have active Zika transmission.

Recently, Mexican officials confirmed a case of local transmission in Ensenada, Baja California, a coastal city in Mexico. In addition, more than 8,000 Zika cases have been reported throughout Mexico in the past two years.

“Many Californians enjoy spending time in Mexico,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “In particular, pregnant women and couples considering pregnancy need to be cautious because Zika virus can cause severe birth defects.”

Since the mosquitoes that can transmit Zika are here in Los Angeles County, it is important that all residents returning from trips to take preventative action against mosquito bites. Sourced from CDC, here are some basic recommendations:

Before your trip

a pregnant woman standing in front of a world globe

If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant

  • If you are pregnant, do not travel to areas with Zika.
  • If you or your partner are trying to get pregnant, consider avoiding nonessential travel to areas with Zika. Talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider about your travel plans.

a group of computers and devices displaying a world map

During your trip

a bottle of insect repellent

Protect yourself from mosquito bites

a bed net product

Keep mosquitoes outside

  • Stay in places with air conditioning and with window/door screens.
  • Use a bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.

After your trip

illustration of a mosquito that is crossed out with a red mark

Protect yourself from mosquito bites

  • Even if you do not feel sick, travelers returning to the United States from an area with Zika should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks so they do not spread Zika to mosquitoes that could spread the virus to other people.

a pregnant couple pictured next to a box of condoms

Protect yourself during sex

  • Protect yourself and your partner during sex, especially if your partner traveled to an area with Zika or if you are pregnant or considering getting pregnant.
  • The amount of time you need to protect yourself during sex depends on whether your partner has symptoms and whether you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. For specific guidelines, see protect yourself during sex.

illustration of a doctor holding a clipboard

See a doctor or healthcare professional

At the end of the day, we don’t want the ominous threat of mosquitoes and disease to sour your vacation. But we do want you to travel safely. Come home with happy memories — not the souvenir of Zika.


About Zika:

Zika virus is spread primarily through mosquito bites and can also be transmitted by both men and women during sex. Most people who are infected with Zika do not experience any symptoms, but should take precautions to avoid sexual transmission, even if they never had symptoms. All individuals, particularly women of childbearing age, should take steps to protect themselves against mosquito bites while traveling and when they return home. Sexually active people who travel to areas with Zika transmission should use condoms or other barriers to avoid getting or passing Zika during sex.


By Levy Sun, Public Information Officer