There's a lot of bad news floating around these days, and one of the tiniest insects is leading the headlines: the Aedes Egypti mosquito borne virus Zika.
Most travelers balk at the slightest inclination of bad news, but while civil war and unrest is a valid reason to cancel your trip, I don't think you should cancel your Antiguan holiday because of Zika. Not convinced? Read on to see why.
Now, let me preface this with the obvious exceptions: if you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant or elderly and infirm, cancelling your Antiguan holiday is the safer course of action. No sense risking your health for an opportunity to sip a pina colada (virgin of course).
What is Zika and what are the risks?
You can read about Zika everywhere, likely you've already done it before you read this article, so I will keep my information relevant to this post.
Zika virus, linked to microcephaly in babies, and transmitted via mosquitoes, has risen to the top of our collective consciousness. The CDC lists all countries where Zika has been reported, and issues travel warnings to expectant mothers and others who may be at risk. Now that Zika has spread to Florida and most of the continental US, it really makes no sense to cancel your travel plans. You're just as likely to get bitten walking down Main Street as you are to get bitten while sunbathing on the beach in Antigua.
Florida has alligators, Australia has great white sharks and Portuguese man-of-war, the indo Pacific islands have venomous sea snakes - and all of those places also have mosquitoes. I'm not much of a gambler, but I would venture to suggest that you are arguably safer at a resort in the Antigua. A bite from a shark is pretty low on my bucket list!
Seriously though, most islands in the Caribbean and indeed many, if not all Antiguan resorts have comprehensive preventative measures in place to combat mosquitoes. (Fogging, insect repellents, monitoring and education to name a few). For us in the islands, mosquitoes and sand flies are as much a part of our daily lives as the beaches and the palm trees are; and we are all very experienced in how to avoid being bitten. Mosquitoes like the aedes egypti, which spread Zika, are part of our environment.
How do you protect yourself?
Let's start with the obvious:
- Bug repellent
- the mosquitoes that spread zika are active during the day, so use repellent all day long, not just at dawn and dusk
- wear protective clothing
- mosquito nets and window screens are essential
- Bug spray or citronella candles, vape mats or mosquito coils
If you are booking a holiday, it is always advisable to get Travel Insurance. Protecting yourself, and your investment is only prudent should the unforeseen occur and cause you to cancel and potentially lose your deposit.
The truth is, travelling is risky and a hassle - even under the most ideal conditions. If you are reasonably healthy and not interested in getting pregnant right away, then get on a plane and head to Antigua - it's a beautiful place! Trust me!
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