The Zika virus has arrived in the US, and despite months of warning, the country isn’t at all ready. As a stopgap measure (one with more than a whiff of desperation about it), the CDC recommends that anyone living in areas at risk of Zika gather a few common mosquito protection products.

Experts say the list is spot-on, but there’s still the question of paying for it. The feds expect people to cover those costs, but states where Zika may be a problem are helping out. Florida, which set aside $26.2 million to fight Zika, plans to buy and distribute prevention “kits” to people, starting with pregnant women. Other states hope to defray costs, but won’t catch everyone: “Texas is providing DEET repellant to pregnant women through Medicaid,” says Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College. “It’s clumsy because you have to get a doctor’s prescription for it, and Texas has very few Medicaid recipients.” Making these items available to the poor is vital, because Zika is expected to hit those communities hardest. Windows in low-income housing often lack screens, and urban debris like discarded tires is a breeding ground for Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

Here’s what the CDC thinks people at risk of contracting Zika should stock up on:

Standing Water Treatment Tablets

Aedes aegypti are urbanized mosquitos, and tend to breed in the pools of stagnant water found in empty flower pots or discarded tires. The CDC recommends treating standing water with the tablets. “They contain a bacterial toxin specific to mosquitos and their close relatives, so it’s a very safe product,” says Dawn Wesson, a medical entomologist at Tulane University. “It won’t kill adult mosquitos. It has to be eaten by the larval form to be effective.” Obviously the best defense is draining any standing water around the house, but if you can’t, the tablets will at least keep your backyard from turning into a Zika incubator. A pack of six costs around $10 and mosquito-proofs 100 square feet of water for 30 days.

Getty Images/Science Source

Aedes aegypti are urbanized mosquitos, and tend to breed in the pools of stagnant water found in empty flower pots or discarded tires. The CDC recommends treating standing water with the tablets. “They contain a bacterial toxin specific to mosquitos and their close relatives, so it’s a very safe product,” says Dawn Wesson, a medical entomologist at Tulane University. “It won’t kill adult mosquitos. It has to be eaten by the larval form to be effective.” Obviously the best defense is draining any standing water around the house, but if you can’t, the tablets will at least keep your backyard from turning into a Zika incubator. A pack of six costs around $10 and mosquito-proofs 100 square feet of water for 30 days.

Permethrin Spray

Permethrin may be the least familiar item on the list for some folks, but this common and essential mosquito protection typically is sprayed directly onto bed nets. The CDC recommends spaying this insecticide onto clothing, not skin. “If a mosquito lands on permethrin-treated fabric and stays there, it will kill the mosquito,” says Wesson. So it’s effective, and entertainingly spiteful. A 6.5 ounce can costs six bucks, and will treat two outfits for two weeks.

Amazon

Permethrin may be the least familiar item on the list for some folks, but this common and essential mosquito protection typically is sprayed directly onto bed nets. The CDC recommends spaying this insecticide onto clothing, not skin. “If a mosquito lands on permethrin-treated fabric and stays there, it will kill the mosquito,” says Wesson. So it’s effective, and entertainingly spiteful. A 6.5 ounce can costs six bucks, and will treat two outfits for two weeks.

Bed Net

Contrary to what you might think, the Aedes aegypti mosquito isn’t actually terribly active at night, but experts say bed net is still a good precaution. “If you’re in a lighted room at night and there’s a hungry Aedes aegypti mosquito around, it will still bite you,” says Wesson. “If have a bed net treated with permethrin, it will actually kill the ones that try.” An inexpensive bed net costs $10 to $15.

Charles Ommanney/Getty Images

Contrary to what you might think, the Aedes aegypti mosquito isn’t actually terribly active at night, but experts say bed net is still a good precaution. “If you’re in a lighted room at night and there’s a hungry Aedes aegypti mosquito around, it will still bite you,” says Wesson. “If have a bed net treated with permethrin, it will actually kill the ones that try.” An inexpensive bed net costs $10 to $15.

Insect Repellant

This is a given, and for good reason. “Repellant basically hides you from the mosquito,” says Wesson. “They land on your skin and don’t realize it’s something they can feed on.” Repellents containing DEET, which last longer, usually run six to 10 bucks a bottle.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

This is a given, and for good reason. “Repellant basically hides you from the mosquito,” says Wesson. “They land on your skin and don’t realize it’s something they can feed on.” Repellents containing DEET, which last longer, usually run six to 10 bucks a bottle.

Condoms

Scientists know Zika can be sexually transmitted, so if you’re having sex in a Zika-affected area, condoms are essential—especially if you’re already pregnant. Fifteen condoms costs about $15, and the consequences of not using protection are potentially devastating. “The overwhelming concern are pregnant women and women who think they might be pregnant,” says Hotez. “The major impact of Zika infection is the potential for birth defects. It’s not just microcephaly. Zika causes fetal brain disruption sequence, which stops the development of the brain.”

Getty Images

Scientists know Zika can be sexually transmitted, so if you’re having sex in a Zika-affected area, condoms are essential—especially if you’re already pregnant. Fifteen condoms costs about $15, and the consequences of not using protection are potentially devastating. “The overwhelming concern are pregnant women and women who think they might be pregnant,” says Hotez. “The major impact of Zika infection is the potential for birth defects. It’s not just microcephaly. Zika causes fetal brain disruption sequence, which stops the development of the brain.”

Link – 

What’s in the CDC’s Zika Prevention Kits, From Permethrin to Condoms