A Clothing Alternative for Zika Protection

It’s hard to miss stories about the dangers of the Zika virus.  Carried by mosquitoes, this virus has been traced to the birth defect known as microcephaly.  Women who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or simply of child bearing age are faced with the possibility of contracting the virus.  While this has been rampant in parts of Central America, there have been cases documented in Miami.

Unfortunately, no vaccine for Zika exists.  Neither does any treatment.  What is apparent then, is that you must be proactive and protect yourself.  The Centers for Disease Control has made several suggestions.  Their first is the traditional way is using an appropriate insect repellant.  Wearing clothing that covers a great portion of your skin is another suggestion.  You can also treat your clothing with an insecticide.

Recently, an apparel company called Nobitech has introduced clothing that they claim should repel insects, including the mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus. Using technology approved by the EPA, they have designed lines that include T-shirts, pullovers and pants for both men and women.  The material uses Skintex technology.  Skintex is designed to release a repellent that is deadly to bugs, while not harming humans.  

If you wear Nobitech’s clothing while outside, you will, according to company, avoid insect bites and stings.  This would protect you for not only Zika, but other insect borne diseases such as West Nile Virus with the added bonus not having to put up with the itching that comes with bug bites.

This new line of clothing raises some interesting questions.  First, would you purchase and wear these items?  For many of them, repelling insects trumps design and aesthetics.  Next, would you wear these items in the middle of summer?  Since the material is heavy enough to protect you from mosquito bites, how comfortable can it be on a hot day?  In addition, with some searching you can find similar items of clothing currently on the market, intended for hiking and camping.

Now, the CDC does not endorse any brand of clothing for this purpose.  The CDC does suggest you use an EPA recommended as effective insect repellents or items that are treated with permethrin.  Unfortunately, there are places where insects are resistant to permethrin.

Puerto Rico is an example of this.  The best preventative measure to take if you’ll be travelling or vacationing is to contact local health authorities.  

Nobitech’s line of clothing and the protection it offers is important, though.  Whether it’s their clothing or another line with designs and treatment for repelling insects, the questions remains.  Are you willing to make fashion concessions to avoid mosquito and insect bites?

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