With the recent outbreak of the Zika virus, missionaries and members all over the world have been left worrying about their own health and the health of their loved ones! This anxiety is absolutely justified, but we need to take a step back and remember that Zika can be avoided by following just a few simple steps!
Here is what we need to know:
There are very few means by which Zika can spread, the most common being a mosquito bite. Other means are much less prevalent and not as worrisome, such as pregnancy or blood transfusions. Therefore, because mosquitoes pose the biggest threat, avoiding their bites is going to be our top priority!
Missionaries, however, spend a large amount of time outside during the day—which is when mosquitoes are most the aggressive. So, how can our missionaries stay safe?
1. Wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, and skirts
2. Using EPA registered insect repellant such as DEET
3. Pre-treating clothing with permethrin
Wearing long-sleeved clothing is a good start to preventing mosquito-transmitted diseases, but this method has a few weaknesses. First, in hot and humid areas—where Zika thrives—long clothing can intensify the heat of the day and without proper rest or water could quicken the process of heat related illnesses. Second, if the clothing is thin enough, a mosquito can actually pierce the thin layer of fabric and still spread disease!
Similarly, insect repellant is effective, but it might not be enough if the missionary only sprays their exposed areas of skin. Remember that mosquitos can still get through your clothes! Also, just as a word to the wise, make sure you avoid perfume scents even in your laundry soap! These scents can attract insects, so make sure to use a fragrance-free laundry detergent!
Clothing treated with permethrin, however, can be very effective. Permethrin is another type of repellant that works by creating a “spatial repellency” against mosquitoes, which means that they might swarm around the treated clothing, but will not land on it. Furthermore, permethrin is a contact insecticide, but is non-toxic to humans. So, if a swarm of mosquitoes becomes so dense that they have no choice but to land on the clothing, they won’t last long enough to bite! Permethrin treated clothing, used together with EPA approved insect repellant can create the ultimate protective barrier for missionaries anywhere!
Also, as mosquitoes can be active through the night, it may be helpful for a missionary to treat their bedding with permethrin. This will prevent the need for worrying about getting bit in the night.
To make sure our missionaries stay safe, Latter Day Sister Missionary takes careful measures to treat our products with 3% permethrin insect repellant! This treatment has been designed to last over 100 washings (This number may vary slightly based on certain environmental conditions).
We know that mosquitos can be particularly nasty during those cooler fall months, so during the month of October, Latter Day Sister Missionary will be offering a buy one get one free deal on permethrin treatments—a $15.00 value! Stay safe and keep doing the Lord’s work!