Skip to main content

Mental & physical health


Avoid mosquito bites

The most common way people get Zika is through bites from an infected Aedes species mosquito. Aedes aegypti, the main type of mosquito responsible for the Zika outbreak, is not currently found in Philadelphia.

What you can do to prevent mosquitoes and mosquito bites

  • Stay in air conditioned or well-screened places.
  • Repair broken screens on windows and doors so mosquitoes can’t get inside your home.
  • Wear insect repellent when outdoors.
    • Make sure the repellent contains an EPA-registered product such as:
      • DEET (20% DEET or higher also prevents tick bites).
      • Picaridin.
      • Oil of lemon eucalyptus.
      • IR3535.
    • Follow instructions. Repellent needs to be reapplied for ongoing protection
    • Apply sunscreen before repellent.
    • An adult should apply repellent to children. DEET can be used on children 2 months and older. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should only be used on children 3 years of age and older.
  • Wear long pants and long sleeves when weather permits.
  • Travelers, outdoor workers, or others who spend a lot of time outside can treat clothing with permethrin.
  • Once or twice a week empty sources of standing water outside your home Mosquitoes can breed and grow in very small containers that fill with rain water, such as bottle caps and cups. See the CDC’s blog about how to reduce standing water.
  • Call our Mosquito Complaint hotline at (215) 685-9000 to report mosquito problems in your neighborhood.

Prevent sexual transmission

Some people got Zika by having unprotected sex with a Zika-infected partner. Anyone who thinks they might have Zika should use condoms or other barriers for all types of sex (vaginal, anal, and oral). Women who can become pregnant should consider using additional types of birth control as well.

To protect the fetus, pregnant women with a male sex partner who traveled to a country with Zika should use condoms or other oral barriers during sex until the baby is born. For non-pregnant women, safe sex precautions should be used for at least eight weeks following return of their partner from a country with Zika. For males who traveled or anyone who has a male partner who traveled to a country with Zika, condoms need to be used for six months following return from travel. The CDC has detailed recommendations.

Be aware of other ways Zika can spread

People who have traveled recently to areas with active Zika virus transmission or have another possible exposure (e.g., unprotected sex) are at risk for contracting Zika infection. See your doctor or healthcare provider if you develop the symptoms described above and have visited an area with local Zika virus transmission.

There are other ways of developing Zika virus infection in addition to traveling to an area with local transmission or sexual transmission. Possible routes of Zika virus transmission include:

  • Blood transfusion
  • Tissue or organ transplantation
  • Laboratory exposure
  • Mother-to-child transmission

Forms & instructions