Get Coronavirus Updates Now
NMDOH Logo
Home News Talking to Your Kids About Zika
David Morgan
575-528-5197 Office
575-649-0754 Mobile

Talking to Your Kids About Zika

July 22, 2016 - Zoonotic Diseases - Information

By now, anybody who follows the news daily knows about Zika virus, the virus that has recently made its way into the United States from other countries. Zika is mainly spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Only certain kinds of mosquitoes are able to transmit the virus that can cause disease, those are exactly the kinds that exist in southern New Mexico counties, the largest of which being Doña Ana County.

Your children may have heard about Zika virus may have questions about it. Children are no different from us. They can better cope with any disease outbreak when they know more about what is happening and that they can do something to help protect themselves, family, and friends.

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend when talking to children of all ages, start the conversation by asking: What have you heard about Zika?

Listen to see if your children have any fears about Zika. Learn what your children have heard and correct any misinformation. Let your children know that you are open to answering questions and talking about Zika. Depending on their age, consider, limiting your children’s exposure to news reports and media on Zika. When they see a lot of information, it may seem like the risk is bigger than it really is.

Make sure your child understands they can only catch Zika if they live in or travel to an area where mosquitoes are spreading Zika and are bit by a mosquito carrying Zika.

As I write this, New Mexico has had 3 reported cases of Zika virus disease. Of those, all 3 were in travelers who were infected abroad and diagnosed after they returned home, but that won’t always be the case if we don’t take precautions.

To avoid Zika and other viruses like West Nile Virus, which are spread by mosquitos, all of us can take the following steps outside:

  • Eliminate water-holding containers where mosquitoes lay their eggs, such as old tires, and regularly change the water in birdbaths, wading pools and pet water bowls. Make sure rain barrels are tightly screened.
  • When outside, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for children and pregnant or breast-feeding women.
    • Always follow the product label instructions.
    • Reapply insect repellent as directed.
    • Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
    • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before putting on the insect repellent.
  • If you have a baby or child:
    • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age (follow label instructions).
    • Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.
    • Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, or cut or irritated skin.
    • Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.

It’s important that children understand Zika, like all mosquito-borne diseases is something to avoid. By tailoring your conversation to your child’s age, developmental stage, and concerns, you can help him or her understand and cope with the current Zika outbreak.


Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.


Versión en Español

En un esfuerzo para hacer que nuestros comunicados de prensa sean más accesibles, también tenemos disponibles una versión en español. Por favor presione el enlace de abajo para acceder a la traducción.

Hablando con sus Niños Sobre Zika