Got the travel bug? Avoid mosquito bites

(NC) Travel bugs come and go, but travel-related diseases can hang around for much longer. If you and your family or friends are planning a vacation abroad, it’s important to be aware of the types of insects at your destination that can carry diseases.

Become familiar with their peak biting times (day vs. night) and the areas where they are often found (indoors vs. outdoors, rural vs. urban) before you leave.

Here are five facts you need to know before you travel abroad:

  1. Some travel-related diseases are vaccine-preventable. Visit a healthcare professional or travel health clinic at least six weeks before you travel.
  2. Mosquitoes that carry Zika virus, malaria, chikungunya, yellow fever and dengue are most active from dusk to dawn.
  3. If you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you should avoid travelling to Zika-affected countries and areas. The Zika virus can cause severe birth defects in babies whose mothers were infected during pregnancy.
  4. Always protect yourself from insect bites. Insect repellents with DEET or Icaridin (also known as Picaridin) are the most effective.
  5. Chikungunya is not a tasty southern dish. It is an infectious disease spread by the bite of an infected mosquito found mainly in tropical climates. Insect bite prevention can help reduce your risk against chikungunya, malaria, Zika virus and other insect-related diseases.

Learn how to protect yourself from insect bites abroad at