Those pesky mozzies at it again.......

Those pesky mozzies just can't help but create havoc.  Annually about 700 million people get a mosquito born illness of some description such as malaria, dengue, yellow fever, filariasis, West Nile virus and the list goes on.  Now it is the zika virus and the danger it presents to pregnant women who are on the trot around the globe. More and more countries are reporting cases of this virus on a daily basis and most government travel websites are going into overdrive with warnings.

The Zika virus is part of the Flaviviridae virus family, which is similar to say Dengue Fever.  The cause for alarm is that this virus has been linked to cases of Microcephaly - under development of the brain - in foetuses.  This is why it is of such a prime concern for pregnant women to be vigilant about protecting themselves.  The culprit is a mosquito known as the "Aedes Aegypti" that loves to bite during the day especially around dawn and dusk. Transmission of the infection apart from mosquito bites is still an unknown quantity. There is one school of thought that the virus can be transmitted by bodily fluids, but the evidence is heavily weighed in favor of it being  mosquito born.

There is no cure and some people do not show any symptoms at all. The unlucky one in five will get sick for a few days or more, with the symptoms similar to that of Dengue Fever.  You may be lucky and only mildly suffer with joint pains, constant bone ache, fevers, headaches and a very itchy rash.  For those that are unlucky, these symptoms will go way past the definition of "mild".  The only remedy is to treat the symptoms with plenty of rest, pain relief and fluid rehydration.

Insect repellant is about to become scarce considering the number of dastardly mosquitoes flying around carrying this disease.  Below are a few tips on how to not put yourself on the menu of rampaging mozzies, either during the day or at night when the blood sucking vampires just love to come out:

First and foremost ladies, your natural aroma is sweet enough, do not wear perfume as it attracts mosquitoes to you, not just the men.  I suppose this can go for the men as well if they are prone to splashing too much aftershave on.

Everyone should cover up their skin with long-sleeved shirts and those wonderful legs with long pants.

Sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned accommodation, or if this is not possible use an insecticide treated bed net.

If on a camping/hiking expedition or frolic in the bush, use permethrin treated gear and clothing such as boots, socks, pants and tents.

Use an insect repellent religiously.  Those that contain DEET or picaridin are safe for everyone including pregnant or breastfeeding women and children over the age of 2 months.  Just make sure you read the product label first.

If traveling do your homework and research the destination you are planning on visiting.  Take heed of what countries are currently on the warning list as many do appear to be the fun sunny places where people want to go for a bit of sun worshipping and water splashing.

If you are in the throes of "baby making", it may be worth reconsidering your reasons to have sex whilst on holidays. 

Travel Insurance and the Zika Virus

If by some horrible chance you do become ill with the Zika virus whilst on holidays, in all likelihood your policy will cover you, even if it is decided that you need to be medically evacuated.  But, this does depend on what your policy wording says and the level of cover that you have taken out.  If by some chance you are already pregnant and you want to cancel a trip you have booked in a country that is now declared a Zika infected area, again this will depend on your travel insurance policy or the goodwill of the hotel or tour provider you have chosen. Some airlines have already started to waive fees on booking changes or offering refunds to infected areas.

Think of it as another condom moment, when the only protection is what you put on to start with to prevent any future repercussions.

Gail Palethorpe, a self proclaimed Australian gypsy, is a freelance writer, photographer and eternal traveller. Check out her website Gail Palethorpe Photography and her Shutterstock profile.