With the Zika virus in the forefront of the news after officials say they are investigating several cases of Zika and West Nile virus in Alabama residents, scammers are exploiting these headlines to defraud consumers. Certain over-the-counter products are being advertised as a repellent or even cure for the Zika virus, but this claim is blatantly false. Whether a supplement, sticker, wristband, or patch, there is no clinically proven “natural” cure or repellent for this disease.
Before taking an OTC supplement of any kind, consider the following supplement safety tips:
- Consult your doctor before starting any medication including OTC supplements.
- Be cautious of dangerous interactions, when taking supplement along with prescribed medication.
- No one pill is going to cure all medical conditions.
- Be skeptical of product testimonials. Base your selection on guidelines from the FDA and other regulatory agencies with a focus on health safety for consumers.
- Do you know exactly what is in a supplement? If the ingredients are not clearly listed on the bottle or product description your health could be at risk.
Consider the following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect yourself from mosquito bites:
- “When going outdoors, use EPA-registered repellents containing 20 percent DEET on skin or permethrin on clothes. Follow label instructions carefully when using any repellent. Repellents should not be used on infants less than 2 months old.
- Wear loose-fitting long sleeves and long pants.
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors. Use air-conditioning, if available.
- Empty standing water from items outside homes such as flowerpots, buckets, old tires and children’s pools.
- Clean clogged gutters and clear drainage ditches and pipes of debris.”
Both the EPA and CDC urge consumers to use caution when using mosquito repellents. For more information on this and travel tips related to the Zika virus go to: Using Repellent Products to Protect against Mosquito-Borne Illnesses at EPA.org and Zika Virus: Plan for Travel at CDC.org