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Summer Safety – Preventing Mosquitos Borne Diseases

- July 18, 2016 by Guest Bloggers (View all posts by Guest)

Summer is finally here! Hello heat, sunshine and….mosquitos. When it comes to summer safety, heat illness isn’t the only workplace hazard you should be aware of, as just one bite from a mosquito can result in serious infection. On top of the other diseases, this year’s mosquitos could be infected with the Zika virus. Although currently there are no outbreaks in the continental U.S., it does not mean we should ignore the virus. In fact, it should encourage you to share the risk of mosquito borne diseases, like Zika and West Nile with your employees especially to those frequently exposed–outdoor workers.

What are the symptoms of Zika?

Four out of five people infected with the Zika virus have no symptoms. Symptoms usually begin two to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms most commonly include:

  • Mild fever
  • Rash
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Red eyes (conjunctivitis)

To verify or confirm infection, you should visit your doctor or healthcare provider and get a blood test. 

Mosquito prevention tips: 

  • Encourage staff to wear long-sleeved shirts, pants and a hat to cover as much skin as possible.
  • Provide employees with insect repellents that have at least 20% DEET.
  • Consider providing permethrin (an insecticide) so staff can treat clothing and gear.
  • Train staff to get rid of sources of standing water (buckets, cans, barrels) as this can be a breeding ground for mosquitos.

Pregnancy concerns:  Zika virus infections during pregnancy have been linked to miscarriage and some neurological disorders.  Women in areas with Zika should wait at least eight weeks after Zika virus infection symptoms start before trying to get pregnant. If the male partner has Zika virus infection, they should wait at least six months after his symptoms start before trying to get pregnant.

Do you have employees traveling out of the country?

Make sure to share with your employees the most up-to-date travel notices and Zika alert levels for all infected countries.

It takes one infected mosquito to spread a virus to your entire outdoor crew. Training your staff about mosquito borne diseases, like Zika, will encourage workers to take extra precautions when outdoors and help them be aware of the threat of mosquitos. For information on other insect hazards that could affect outdoor workers, read our Summer Safety Series on Insects.