Mosquito Lifespan: How Long Do Mosquitoes Live? (From Egg To Death)
How Long Do Mosquitoes Live?
- 1 Mosquito Lifespan:How Long Do Mosquitoes Live?
- 2 How Long Do Mosquitoes Live?
- 3 The Mosquito Life Cycle
- 4 Mosquito Lifespan (In Different Situations)
- 5 How to Treat Mosquito Bites
- 6 DonвЂ™t Scratch
- 7 Can You Avoid A Bite?
- 8 Questions About Zika
- 9 Q: What is Zika?
- 10 Q: How do people get infected with Zika?
- 11 Q: What health problems can result from getting Zika?
- 12 Q: Should pregnant women travel to areas with risk of Zika?
- 13 Q: If I am traveling to an area with risk of Zika, should I be concerned about Zika?
- 14 Q: What can people do to prevent Zika?
- 15 Q: What are the symptoms of Zika virus disease?
- 16 Q: How is Zika diagnosed?
- 17 Q: Can someone who returned from an area with risk of Zika get tested for the virus?
- 18 Q: What should pregnant women who have recently traveled to an area with risk of Zika do?
- 19 Q: I am not pregnant, but will my future pregnancies be at risk if I am infected with Zika virus?
- 20 Q: I was in a place with risk of Zika recently. How long do I need to wait after returning to get pregnant?
- 21 Q: Which insect repellents work best to prevent infections caused by mosquito bites?
- 22 Q: How should insect repellents be used on children to prevent mosquito bites and the viruses that some mosquitoes can spread?
- 23 Q: Is it safe for infants or children to travel to an area with risk of Zika?
- 24 Q: What should I do if I am sick, or a family member is sick, with Zika?
- 25 Q: Should we be concerned about Zika in the United States?
- 26 Q: What is CDC doing about Zika?
During mosquito season, it can be hard to imagine an end to all the flying pests who are terrorizing you and your family. When mosquitoes are constantly harassing you, their lifespan can seem impossibly long. If you’re curious about how long a mosquito can live to terrorize you, I have the answers.
The first thing you should know when looking at the average lifespan of mosquitoes is that female mosquitoes live much, much longer than their male counterparts; they are also the only mosquitoes with the ability to bite you and drink your blood. Unlike many insects who have astonishingly short lifespans, a female mosquito can live roughly one or two months (which can sometimes be the entirety of a mosquito season). Armed with the knowledge in this article, you’ll be better able to understand a mosquito’s lifespan and what steps you can take to drastically shorten their reign of terror.
(Please note that the information in this article is only general. There are many different species of mosquitoes and they can have a varying lifespan. If you want more information about the specific mosquitoes in your area, a little bit of research into your local species can be a powerful weapon. However, I’ve done enough research that although timelines may vary a bit from species to species, all of the information below should answer your most common questions about how long a mosquito can live.)
How Long Do Mosquitoes Live?
The average adult female mosquito can live up to 42-56 days. That means a single female mosquito can potentially survive in your house for almost two months. Outside, mosquitoes will only live in temperatures over 50°F, but preferably 80°F. Adult male mosquitoes have a shorter lifespan, they only live up to 10 days.
When it comes to dealing with mosquitoes, knowledge is power and knowing about their general lifespan and the different stages of their life cycle can give you an advantage against them. A single female mosquito can terrorize you and your loved ones for almost two months! On the other hand, adult male mosquitoes only have a tiny window of survival. Quite a difference, isn’t it? You may be celebrating the short male lifespan, but don’t get too excited: male mosquitoes’ only real goals are essentially reproducing and making sure they eat enough nectar to stay alive, so they aren’t the ones responsible for aggravating bug bites. In fact, male mosquitoes don’t even have the necessary anatomy to bite you and drink your blood. Instead, it’s the female mosquitoes you need to guard yourself against when mosquito season rolls around.
Keep in mind, these rough lifespans are only applicable in ideal conditions and can vary from species to species. When you remove things like adequate protection, food sources, and places to lay eggs, you can drastically shorten a mosquito’s lifespan. Knowing how long they live and what stages of life they go through is a powerful tool in your arsenal against mosquitos. Continue reading to find where I break down the various life stages a mosquito goes through and how long they can live in certain circumstances.
The Mosquito Life Cycle
Did your elementary school ever keep class butterflies to learn about the various stages of their life cycles? If the answer is yes, you may remember how butterflies go through several different stages (and forms) before they emerge from their cocoons and are ready to fly. Just like butterflies and many other insects, mosquito’s life cycle can be broken into several different stages. The life cycle of your average mosquito can be broken up into 4 stages: egg, larvae, pupa, and adult. Let’s take a look at each of these stages and what they entail for a mosquito’s growth and life.
Mosquito Eggs In Water
The first stage of a mosquito’s life is the egg stage. When a female adult mosquito has recently finished feasting on blood, she will try to find a suitable area to lay her eggs. The ideal location for mosquito eggs is in stagnant or “standing” water. Places like unused birdbaths, old puddles, or untended ponds are wonderful locations for this; some species will even lay their eggs in damp soil that is prone to flooding, so a yard that has poor drainage may also be an ideal mosquito birthplace. When the female adult mosquito has chosen an adequate birthing location, she will lay her eggs one at a time. Depending on the mosquito’s species, her eggs will remain solo or they will attach to one another to form rafts of up to 200 individual eggs. Some species can even lay more than 200 eggs at a time! So long as things go well (ie, temperatures do not drop or the eggs are not destroyed), mosquito eggs will hatch within 48 hours.
If all goes according to plan, the mosquito eggs will hatch within 48 hours and the mosquitoes inside will enter their second stage of life: the larval stage. Mosquito larvae (or “wigglers” as some people call them, due to their wiggling movements) must have water in order to survive. After they hatch from their eggs, the mosquito larvae will rise to the water’s surface so that they can breathe. Some larvae will have siphon tubes so that they can breathe as their bodies hang underneath the water’s surface; some will lie parallel to the water’s surface to breathe through an opening in their bodies. Other species may even attach to aquatic plants so that they can stay rooted as they breathe and grow. However they go about it, the mosquito larvae will find a way to breathe above surface while staying submerged in the water to remain protected. They will live within the water from anywhere as long as four to fourteen days. During this time, they will shed (or molt) their skins at least four times and grow larger as they continue to molt. While they molt, the larvae sustain themselves by feeding off of aquatic microorganisms or any organic matter that is within the water. When the larvae undergo their fourth and final molt, they will transform from a larva into a pupa so that they can enter the next stage of their life.
The third stage of a mosquito’s development following its life as a larva is known as the pupal stage. In most mosquito species, the pupal stage will last roughly two days. Unlike before where the mosquito could only wiggle in the water without really going anywhere, pupae have the ability to be mobile. They are able to move by tumbling around in the water with their tails. They do so in order to respond to light changes and to seek protection. During the pupal stage, there is no need to feed. Instead, mosquito pupae spend their time resting and preparing to become an adult. Remember earlier when I mentioned butterfly’s and their life stages? It is during the pupal stage that mosquito pupae undergo a metamorphosis similar to the cocoon stage of a butterfly’s life. After the pupae are done growing and changing, their bodies’ outer skin will split open and their adult mosquito forms will emerge.
Male Mosquitoes (Adult Life)
After emerging from their pupal shell, the adult male mosquito will spend a short time resting on the surface of the water he grew up in. This rest will allow all parts of his body to finish hardening and will also give him time to dry off so that he can fly. His wings will need to unfurl and dry fully before he is able to fly. During the first few days of his adult life, the male mosquito won’t be interested in finding a potential mate. Instead, he will be focused on his finishing development.
Unlike the female mosquito, male mosquitoes feast only on nectar and other sources of sugar to sustain themselves. Following his final developments over the initial few days of his adult life, the male mosquito will likely seek out plant life in order to feed himself. After he is full, he will set out to complete his true goal: finding mates to continue his species. Male mosquitoes will spend the entirety of their short lives mating with females. Some male mosquitoes will form swarms in order to attract mates, while others will seek out their partners solo. Either way, the male mosquito will do all that he can to find as many female partners as possible to ensure the continuation of his kind. After roughly 10 days, the male mosquito will have come to the end of his natural lifespan and he will die.
Female Mosquitoes (Adult Life)
The start of the adult female mosquito’s life is almost identical to that of her male counterpart. After she sheds her pupal skin, the adult female mosquito will spend her first few days resting on the surface of the water she was born and grew up in. The softer parts of her body will finish hardening and her wings will stretch out and prepare for flight; this time on top of the water will also allow her body to dry so that she can take flight. It is crucial for a mosquito to fully dry off before they attempt to fly, as they are unable to do so if their bodies are wet. During these first few days, she won’t seek out food and will instead focus on preparing for the days ahead.
After the adult female mosquito’s body is fully functional and she is no longer wet, she will take flight and begin hunting for food. The adult female mosquito also sustains herself on a diet composed of nectar and plant juices. However, whereas male mosquitoes do not have the proper anatomy to drink blood, female mosquitoes do. Along with her nectar drinking, the female mosquito will supplement her diet with blood so that she gains the proper nutrients needed to bare and birth eggs. Let’s take a look at the anatomy female adult mosquitoes develop that allows them to harvest blood, so that we can better understand how drinking blood plays a part in the adult female mosquito’s life.
The female mosquito’s mouth is known as a proboscis. It is a sort of sophisticated tube that contains a system of thin needle-like parts that allow her to pierce skin, seek out blood vessels, and drain their contents. When a female mosquito goes to puncture flesh so that she can fead, the outer lip-like sheath (known as the labium) of her proboscis rolls up to allow the needle-like parts inside to pierce the flesh. There are six different needle-like appendages known as stylets that are needed for the female mosquito to be able to drink blood.
The first two stylets are called maxillae and they contain tiny, sharp teeth that are used to saw through skin. These teeth are so sharp that the mosquito can get through your skin so quickly and easily, you probably won’t even feel the sting of the bite. After the maxillae have done their work, another set of stylets called the mandibles hold the skin apart. The mandibles allow the mosquito to get past your skin without needing to bite over and over again.
The fifth stylet needed is known as the labrum. The labrum probes beneath the surface of your skin to find a worthy blood vessel. After the labrum has found an adequate vessel, it pierces through with a sharp tip to begin draining blood. After the mosquito has filled her pouch up with blood, the final stylet gets to work. The hypopharynx stylet pumps saliva into the bite wound. The mosquito’s saliva prevents proper blood clotting, so the mosquito can return in the future and continue feeding without needing to establish a new feeding spot. The saliva also dilates blood vessels and works to block your immune system’s natural responses that would respond and destroy the intruding substance. A mosquito’s saliva also lubricates their proboscis, which will allow for future feedings.
Unlike male mosquitoes whose main interest is mating with as many partners as possible, female mosquitoes will typically only mate with one male in their entire life. After successfully coupling, the female mosquito will store sperm inside her body so that she can continue to fertilize her eggs over the remainder of her life. In order to give birth, a female mosquito has to feast on blood in order to gain necessary nutrients. Once she has had a blood meal, she is ready to give birth. Typically, a female mosquito can lay one set of up to 200 or more eggs every time she feasts on blood.
After one or two months, the female mosquito will have worn out her body’s potential. Her life can be shortened by cold temperatures, over-exposure to sun, lack of food sources, or outside factors like mosquito sprays or other bug killers. After the female mosquito has drunk as much blood as possible and laid as many eggs as she can, she will die. However, all of the offspring she gave birth to will continue the pesky cycle of mosquito life.
Mosquito Lifespan (In Different Situations)
Now that I have addressed the typical life stages a mosquito will go through during their natural lifespan, it’s time to discuss the lifespan of a mosquito in varying circumstances. When all ideal requirements are met, an adult female mosquito can live up to roughly two months. However, life for a mosquito is not always ideal and there are things you can do to prevent a mosquito from living up to their full potential. There are also environmental factors that can affect a mosquito’s lifespan. Let’s look into a few situations that can possibly affect how long a mosquito will live.
How Long Does A Mosquito Live After Biting Someone?
Female mosquitoes are the ones doing the biting, and they will continue living even after biting someone. Mosquitoes are able to bite multiple victims: If they are able to avoid being killed in the biting process, they can potentially live as long as three weeks after the initial bite. An impressive post-bite lifespan!
Some people are under the impression that after an insect bites or stings you, they will always die. While this may be true for bees and bee stings, it is not true for mosquitoes and mosquito bites. A mosquitoes anatomy is composed in such a way that biting and draining their victims of blood does not personally harm them. Just like how humans can eat a meal without dying afterward (unless there are special circumstances), mosquitoes can bite and drink as much blood as they desire over the course of their lives. Unless a mosquito is crushed after biting someone, they will live on to continue terrorizing innocent victims with their aggravating bites.
How Long Do Mosquitoes Live Without Water?
Mosquitoes are able to live without water only in the final stage of their lives (adulthood). On average, adult mosquitoes live outside water for up to two months for females, and about 10 days for males. However, female mosquitoes still require water to lay eggs, which they do every three days of their adult life.
This question can be a bit complicated to answer correctly. For the sake of clarity, let me address it in two parts. First, let’s look at the survival of mosquito eggs, larvae, and pupae without water. After that, we will take a brief look at the adult life of these blood-sucking monsters.
As I detailed above, mosquitoes require water during their first few life stages in order to grow. Mosquito eggs cannot survive without some form of water as they will quickly dry out (especially in areas of direct sunlight) and die. Mosquito larvae and pupae both require water to protect themselves as well and they survive on the nutrients coming from microorganisms and organic matter found in the water. Without these supplies, they will also die. In less than 24 hours without water, a developing mosquito will perish.
Adult mosquitoes are a bit trickier. They no longer need water to protect themselves from environmental factors and they have developed a diet outside of the nutrients water can provide. The only need an adult mosquito has for water is to stave off dehydration and they can go a short time period without needing to rehydrate. In short, a mosquito can survive one or two days without water. However, if a female mosquito has fed on blood recently, she may survive up to four days without water.
How Long Do Mosquitoes Live Without Eating?
Because mosquitoes will ‘hibernate’ during winter (diapause), most female mosquitoes are able to live without eating for well over six months. In their active lifetime, an adult mosquito will technically not eat at all, but drink nectar. They can survive without nectar for 4 days, but only 2 days without water.
Typically, an adult male mosquito could survive one or two days without eating. If an adult female has fed on blood recently, she could survive up to four. However, some species of mosquitoes do have the ability to hibernate. When temperatures began dropping under 80 degrees (and ideally, under 50 Fahrenheit), mosquitoes will begin preparing for hibernation. Only female mosquitoes can withstand hibernation as the male mosquito’s body is not strong enough. When preparing for hibernation, a female mosquito will overindulge on blood and fatten up as much as possible. After she has adequately prepared, a female mosquito can hibernate until the weather begins to warm up to ideal temperatures once more or up to six months. That means a female mosquito can go up to six months without eating.
Of course, mosquitoes only go into hibernation if the temperatures are dropping. If a mosquito is trapped without a source of food, they will perish by the four-day mark.
How Long Do Mosquitoes Live Indoors?
Mosquitoes require a warm environment in order to sustain themselves: indoor life is perfect for them. The average adult female mosquito can live up to 42-56 days. That means a single female mosquito can potentially survive in your house for almost two months. Without access to water and nectar, this will be less.
The length of time a mosquito can remain alive indoors depends on a variety of factors. If there is available sustenance and the environment is not hostile, it is feasible for a mosquito to live out its entire natural lifespan indoors. However, most of our homes are not a suitable environment for mosquitoes since we may use products that can kill them or there may not be enough sources of food. Let’s discuss the various factors that can shorten (or increase) a mosquito’s lifespan indoors to better find an answer to this question.
The longer they are exposed to cool temperatures, the quicker they perish. If you keep your house in the 60 or 70s Fahrenheit (roughly room temperature), a mosquito’s lifespan can be cut in half indoors. In summer time it can be warmer inside your home, making it more likely for these insects to survive for longer periods of time.
As mentioned before, mosquitoes require adequate food sources to survive indoors. It is more likely a male mosquito will die off inside quicker than a female mosquito. This is because male mosquitoes only feed on nectar and other sugary plant juices. If you have no indoor plants and they cannot find adequate nutrition, expect a male mosquito to die off within a day or two. Female mosquitoes, however, can feed on blood. If you or any of your loved ones (including pets) can provide a food source for a female mosquito, she can live without a problem indoors.
There are also protective measures you can take that will shorten a mosquito’s lifespan indoors. If you use any sort of protection against mosquitoes, their lives will be shortened. Things like essential oil diffusers, mosquito repellant plants, or other protective measures can put an early end to their reign of terror.
In conclusion, there is no set answer for how long a mosquito can survive indoors because it depends on a variety of factors. However, if a mosquito is trapped inside with lower than desired temperatures and they cannot find food (either because there is no nectar or because you and your family members are adequately protected), expect four days to be the maximum for a mosquito’s indoor life.
How Long Do Mosquitoes Live Without Blood?
An adult male mosquito lives his entire life without feeding on blood. This is because his anatomy is simply not suited for biting and drinking blood. Therefore, he can live roughly ten days without blood (a normal adult male mosquito lifespan).
When we consider the adult female mosquito, things get tricky again. If an adult female mosquito has fed on blood recently, she can survive up to four days without feeding again. However, like their male counterparts, female mosquitoes can also feed on nectar and plant juices. The reason female mosquitoes feed on blood is less for survival than for gathering the necessary nutrients to lay her young. If a female mosquito can find other food sources, it’s possible she could also live out her full lifespan or roughly two months. However, she would be unable to reproduce and this could shorten her life. The true answer is a grey area, so expect anywhere from four days to a month without blood to kill a female mosquito.
Were you surprised by any of the information in this article? I know when I first discovered that adult female mosquitoes could live up to two months (and longer if they went into hibernation,) I was shocked! It is interesting to learn about the various life stages a mosquito goes through before they mature and to learn how merely denying access to stagnant water can end a mosquito’s life before they can even mature enough to feast on your blood. Hopefully, this article has helped you better understand mosquitoes and you have an idea of the steps you can take to keep them from bugging you too much. If you don’t want your home becoming a potential starting place for a mosquito’s life this mosquito season, check out 15 ways you can keep mosquitoes out of your yard and put an end to the mosquitoes before they can develop into a problem.
Luckily, there are tons of protective measures you can take that will reduce a mosquito’s life expectancy. Head on over to our recommended products page to discover ways that you can repel mosquitoes and shorten their lives. After you’re done reading there, please browse the rest of our articles to learn how you can fight back against mosquitoes and reclaim your bug-free warm weather. Mosquitoes may be able to live a long time, but a little bit of knowledge and application can keep them from bothering you and your loved ones.
How to Treat Mosquito Bites
Articles On Mosquito Bites
Mosquito Bites — How to Treat Mosquito Bites
You know the drill. YouвЂ™re enjoying a lovely evening outside. Then you hear that high-pitched whine and feel the sting of a mosquito bite.
Something in the insectвЂ™s spit causes the small itchy welt. ItвЂ™ll get better within a few hours for most people. But if youвЂ™re highly sensitive, symptoms can last for several days. That little spot can turn into an itchy sore the size of a quarter.
ItвЂ™s tough advice, but leave the bite alone. When you scratch, it creates openings in your skin that allow bacteria in and cause infection.
To relieve the itch and lower your chances of an infection:
- Wash the area with soap and water.
- Apply calamine lotion or anti-itch cream.
- Put an ice pack on the bite.
- Take an over-the-counter antihistamine.
If a bite causes fever, vomiting, or shortness of breath, call 911 or get to an emergency room immediately.
Can You Avoid A Bite?
Yes. Take these steps:
- Stay indoors at dawn and dusk, and in the early evening.
- Wear long pants and long sleeves when you go outdoors.
- Apply bug spray with DEET or picaridin to all exposed skin.
- Get rid of standing water where mosquitoes breed.
- Use screens on windows and doors to keep the bugs out.
CDC: «What You Need to Know About Mosquito Repellent.»
European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation: «Mosquito bite allergies: DonвЂ™t scratch!»
Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station: «FAQ’s on Mosquitoes.»
The Ohio State University Extension: «Mosquito Bites.»
Questions About Zika
Q: What is Zika?
A: Zika virus disease is caused by the Zika virus, which is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting up to a week, and many people do not have symptoms or will have only mild symptoms. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly and other severe brain defects.
Q: How do people get infected with Zika?
A: Zika is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). A pregnant woman can pass Zika to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth. Also, a person with Zika can pass it to his or her sex partners. We encourage people who have traveled to or live in places with risk of Zika to protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites and sexual transmission of Zika.
Q: What health problems can result from getting Zika?
A: Many people infected with Zika will have no symptoms or mild symptoms that last several days to a week. However, Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. Current research suggests that Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), an uncommon sickness of the nervous system, is strongly associated with Zika; however, only a small proportion of people with recent Zika virus infection get GBS.
Once someone has been infected with Zika, it’s very likely they’ll be protected from future infections. There is no evidence that past Zika infection poses an increased risk of birth defects in future pregnancies.
Q: Should pregnant women travel to areas with risk of Zika?
A: Pregnant women should NOT travel to areas with Zika outbreaks (as indicated by red areas on Zika map). Before traveling to other areas with current or past spread of Zika (as indicated by purple areas on Zika map), pregnant women should discuss their travel plans with a doctor. Travelers who go to places with outbreaks or past or current spread (as indicated by red or purple areas on Zika map) can be infected with Zika. Zika infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly and other severe brain defects.
Q: If I am traveling to an area with risk of Zika, should I be concerned about Zika?
A: Yes. Travelers who go to places with Zika outbreaks (as indicated by red areas on Zika map) or with current or past spread of Zika (as indicated by purple areas on Zika map) might be at risk of infection with Zika. Pregnant women and couples trying to become pregnant within 3 months of travel should work with their healthcare providers to carefully consider the risks and possible consequences of travel. Zika travel notices are posted when there is an outbreak. Because Zika can cause microcephaly and other severe birth defects, pregnant women should NOT travel to any area with a Zika outbreak (as indicated by red areas on Zika map). Women trying to get pregnant should talk to their healthcare providers to carefully consider the risks and possible consequences of Zika infection before traveling to areas reporting current or past spread of Zika (as indicated by purple areas on Zika map), but no current outbreak. Those traveling to areas with Zika outbreaks or with current or past spread of Zika should take steps during and after they travel to prevent mosquito bites and sexual transmission of Zika.
Q: What can people do to prevent Zika?
A: The best way to prevent Zika is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites:
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents external icon
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.
Zika can be spread by a person infected with Zika to his or her sex partners. Condoms can reduce the chance of getting Zika from sex. Condoms include male and female condoms. To be effective, condoms should be used from start to finish, every time during vaginal, anal, and oral sex and the sharing of sex toys. Not having sex eliminates the risk of getting Zika from sex. Pregnant couples with a partner who traveled to or lives in an area with risk of Zika should use condoms every time they have sex or not have sex during the pregnancy.
Q: What are the symptoms of Zika virus disease?
A: The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes, and muscle pain. Many people infected with Zika won’t have symptoms or will have mild symptoms, which can last for several days to a week.
Q: How is Zika diagnosed?
A: To diagnose Zika, your doctor will ask you about recent travel and symptoms you may have, and collect blood or urine to test for Zika or similar viruses.
Q: Can someone who returned from an area with risk of Zika get tested for the virus?
A: Zika virus testing is performed at CDC and some state and territorial health departments. See your doctor if you have Zika symptoms and have recently been in an area with risk of Zika. Your doctor may order tests to look for Zika or similar viruses like dengue and chikungunya.
Q: What should pregnant women who have recently traveled to an area with risk of Zika do?
A: Pregnant women who have recently traveled to an area with risk of Zika should talk to their doctor about their travel, even if they don’t feel sick. Pregnant women should see a doctor if they have any Zika symptoms during their trip or after traveling. All pregnant women can protect themselves by avoiding travel to an area with risk of Zika, preventing mosquito bites, and following recommended precautions against getting Zika through sex.
Q: I am not pregnant, but will my future pregnancies be at risk if I am infected with Zika virus?
A: Currently, there is no evidence that a woman who has recovered from Zika virus infection (the virus has cleared her body) will have Zika-related pregnancy complications in the future. Based on information about similar infections, once a person has been infected with Zika virus and has cleared the virus from his or her body, he or she is likely to be protected from future Zika infections.
If you’re thinking about having a baby in the near future and you or your partner live in or traveled to an area with risk of Zika, talk with your doctor or other healthcare provider. See Women & Their Partners Trying to Become Pregnant.
Q: I was in a place with risk of Zika recently. How long do I need to wait after returning to get pregnant?
A: Men who have traveled to areas with risk of Zika should wait at least 3 months after travel (or 3 months after symptoms started if they get sick) before trying to conceive with their partner. Women should wait at least 2 months after travel (or 2 months after symptoms started if they get sick) before trying to get pregnant. The waiting period is longer for men because Zika stays in semen longer than in other body fluids.
Q: Which insect repellents work best to prevent infections caused by mosquito bites?
A: To prevent Zika and other diseases spread by mosquitoes, use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents external icon on exposed skin. The insect repellent should include one of the following ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone. Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer protection. Always follow the label instructions when using insect repellent.
Q: How should insect repellents be used on children to prevent mosquito bites and the viruses that some mosquitoes can spread?
A: When using insect repellent on your child always follow label instructions. Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under 3 years old. Do not apply insect repellent to a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, cuts, or irritated skin. Adults should spray insect repellent onto their hands and then apply to a child’s face.
Q: Is it safe for infants or children to travel to an area with risk of Zika?
A: CDC’s travel guidance for areas with risk of Zika applies to infants and children, as well as adults. CDC recommends that those who travel to areas with risk of Zika protect themselves from mosquito bites during travel and for 3 weeks after returning from travel. For safe and effective ways to protect your child from mosquito bites, please visit CDC’s Zika prevention page. Most children infected with Zika virus have no symptoms or have a mild illness, similar to adults with Zika virus infection.
Q: What should I do if I am sick, or a family member is sick, with Zika?
A: Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms lasting several days to a week. If you have symptoms of Zika (fever, rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes, or muscle pain) and you live in or recently traveled to an area with risk of Zika, you should see your doctor or healthcare provider and tell him or her about your symptoms and recent travel. There is no specific medicine for Zika, but you can treat the symptoms. If you are diagnosed with Zika, protect those around you by taking steps to prevent mosquito bites and to prevent sexual transmission of Zika. Because Zika can generally be found in blood during approximately the first week of infection and can be passed to another person through mosquito bites, help prevent others from getting sick by strictly following steps to prevent mosquito bites during the first week of illness.
Q: Should we be concerned about Zika in the United States?
A: Local mosquito-borne spread of Zika has been previously reported in the continental United States. In 2018 and 2019, no local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission has been reported in the continental United States.
Q: What is CDC doing about Zika?
A: CDC is working around the clock to respond to the Zika virus outbreak. CDC’s work includes developing laboratory tests to diagnose Zika, conducting studies to learn more about Zika, publishing reports about Zika, monitoring and reporting cases of Zika, providing guidance to travelers and Americans living in areas with outbreaks, providing on-the-ground support in countries and US territories with current Zika outbreaks, and more. You can find more information here.