Traveling to Havana, Cuba while pregnant (ZIKA tips)
Backstory: Havana used to be on my active travel wishlist, but so many people started going there that I had lost interest in this destination. When going international, I prefer to be different and travel least popular places. Though, last year when my friends mentioned going to Havana in Fall 2018, I did not say no. I booked my $141,11 round trip flight to Havana from Nashville, TN, then got excited and started inviting even more friends to come along.
The planning was going well until husband and I found out we were expecting. From there, with knowing that Havana is an active Zika zone and that Zika is associated with birth defects, I had to decide between going or not going to Cuba. I definitely took a chance by going on this trip, and I am not writing this blog post to encourage you to take such risks in life. If you do decide to go for it though, keep reading to find tips on what I did to protect myself from mosquito bites.
1. CDC Travel Advisory
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has Cuba listed as a Level 2 country. It means that one (pregnant or not) is advised to practice enhanced precautions when traveling to Cuba. For pregnant women, here is the CDC’s advisory: “Pregnant women should NOT travel to areas with risk of Zika. This is because Zika infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects.”
2. Mosquito Repellent (Deet)
Select one with at least 40% Deet. Deet is the component that basically covers up your “attractiveness” to mosquitoes. The higher the deet concentration, the longer the protection will last. I used a 40 % Deet Repel lotion, and also carried around a 98.11% Deet Repel spray for extra peace of mind. Definitely allow yourself to dry before putting on clothes or touching any plastic (I totally ruined my phone case). Wash your hands before eating or scratching your eyes. Also, expect to smell like chemicals all day.
3. Long Sleeve Outfits
Try your best to not expose your skin and veins. I usually get bit on my neck, arms, and ankles. So, I made sure to wear long sleeves, high socks, ankle boots, and I mostly wore my braids down to protect my neck. Here are some of my outfits while in Cuba. I felt out of place and overdressed but rather safe than sorry.
4. Garlic Pills
One of my coworkers shared her experience with taking garlic pills to repel mosquitoes while working in deep woods in the past, so i decided to also give that a try. I took one every morning along with my other vitamins while in Cuba. I cannot tell you how effective the pills were, but all I know is i did not get bit. However, garlic pills do thin out your blood, so please ask your doctor before taking any.
Bottomline: I went to Cuba against the CDC advisory and my doctor’s advice, but I managed to not get bit while there and my baby is healthy. The first days I avoided being outside, even would wait in the hot a$$ taxi, and also became the annoying balcony door police. As the trip went on, I became more and more comfortable from seeing other pregnant women or families with normal looking infants and toddlers. I could finally relax a little bit and enjoy the trip with my best friends!
My little Amandla Jace is due next month, so there might not be a blog post until we move from Kentucky to Florida in January 2019. Happy and Safe Holidays to all. Thank you for your continued support all throughout 2018, and click here to check out my Holiday Sale :)
Live Life Fully,