DHHS urges spring breakers to pack bug spray


Are you going somewhere warmer for spring break? Will you be packing vacation essentials like bathing suits, sun hats and sun screen? The Department of Health and Human Services said bug spray should be the next item you throw in your bag.

The winter weather can be brutal, and if you are planning on a destination getaway, warding off unwanted bugs might save your health.

One freshman at the University of Nebraska at Kearney is traveling to Miami for spring break. In her home country, bug spray is something she always kept on her, but she did not think she would need it for her Miami trip.

"I didn't think about that, but in Sweden we actually do that like all the time in the summer because there's so many like different bugs and mosquitos and everything like that so then I should bring that, but now, I didn't think about that at all until you said that now,” said Linn Svensson.

The Zika Virus, Dengue and even Yellow Fever are known for being spread by mosquitos. However, many spring breakers do not understand the viruses or know what the symptoms are.

"Only thing I know is that it can cause infertility or something like that I’m pretty sure,” said UNK Freshman, Jarod Micek.

"If you have fever, rashes, if you're feeling nauseous, anything like that, that's a common theme of being sick. If you are sick, not specifically looking out for the disease, but always make sure if you do feel sick you go to your health care provider because you need them to test you for those diseases,” said Laura Steele.

Laura Steele is the Assistant Director of Two Rivers Public Health Department in Holdrege. She said sometimes those symptoms might not be so obvious, but that it is still important to be cautious.

"We see Zika for example, and we think it’s abroad, well honestly mosquito populations circulate. They start in the south, in the spring, and then the mosquito populations circulate, they transmit their diseases up more towards the north as the season progresses,” said Steele.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services said just last year, there were multiple cases of Zika and Dengue in travelers returning to Nebraska.

To prevent against bites, the CDC recommends a few active ingredients like DEET, IR3535 and oil of lemon eucalyptus. A few brand name products than contain those ingredients would be OFF!, Cutter, Repel, and Skinsmart.

For more helpful tips on preventing bug bites, the CDC has more information.

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