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Jill Stone

Your Meeting Matchmaker Fairy Godmother

Zika-Free Attendees

in: Event Planning Advice

Zika-free attendees

The latest bug from a bug (darn mosquitos!) is Zika. Perhaps the most disconcerting fact is that birth defects, namely microcephaly, have been linked to Zika infected pregnant mothers. Therefore, if your meeting will take place in an area that has been affected by Zika, you may wish to suggest that pregnant women forego attendance.

Here are some items that you should know about Zika, and that you should share with your attendees:

  • Common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis.
  • The illness is usually mild, with symptoms lasting from several days to a week.
  • Treatment is rest, fluids and acetaminophen.
  • People rarely get sick enough to require a hospital stay, and Zika very rarely causes death.

After reading a blog posted by Successful Meetings, I decided to go straight to the source and caught up with a Zika-Carrying Mosquito. He shared some ideas on how not to bitten by the likes of him, and this is what he had to say:

“I do not mean to carry this Zika thing, but I do, and as a mosquito, I have a need to feed. If you do not want me to find you, you should:

  • Keep up with theCDC to know which areas Zika has affected.
  • Wear long sleeved shirts, long skirts and/or long pants as there is less of you to bite.
  • Offer to stream the event for those unable or who choose not to attend – darn! I cannot bite those that are not there.
  • We Zika-carrying mosquitoes, along with our cousins, chikungunya- and dengue-carrying mosquitos, are aggressive during the daytime areas. Just our nature, I guess. So plan your outdoor activities for the evening.
  • If you have a bed net, especially one that is treated with Permethrin (also good for clothing), I simply cannot get to you while you sleep.  In case you’re wondering the best nets to keep me out, check out thislist of WHO recommended long-lasting insecticidal nets.
  • Smart planners look for hotels that have screens on windows and air conditioning. I am tiny, but not tiny enough to fit through a screen and air-conditioned places tend to keep their windows closed. If they have air-conditioning and open windows, I usually hear someone ask the person who opened the window if they are trying to cool down the whole neighborhood.
  • I love water! So smart planners also make sure that the venue area is free of standing water.
  • Finally, if you are wearing anEPA registered insect repellent, I will want nothing to do with you. My guess is that their planner must have included it in their guest room amenities. I especially loathe repellents that have the active ingredients of DEET, PICARIDIN or IR3535. What makes it all the more difficult is when they are told to:

o   Reapply the repellent every few hours

o   Do not apply repellent to skin under clothing

o   If using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before insect repellent

Do these things, and I will totally leave you be!”

Thank you for info, Zika-Carrying Mosquito! And for the rest of you, may your attendees be healthy and may all your meetings be mosquito-free!

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