What To Do About the Zika Virus and Your Destination Wedding
There aren’t too many things that I hate as I’m not a hateful person. But, I hate mosquitos.
Partially because they are annoying, but mainly because they love me. I must have yummy blood because if you stick me in a room in a tropical climate, I’ll be all the mosquito repellent you need (I’m probably all the vampire repellant you need too).
So, it always concerns me when there are mosquito-based viruses because the chances I’d get them are high. On my trip to the Caribbean last year, there was a big concern about the Chikungunya virus which causes severe joint pain. Pretty much all the islands in the Caribbean had the disease. While I somehow (and luckily) didn’t get it, I am amazed at the amount of harm a little mosquito can do.
If you’ve been following the news at all I’m sure you’ve heard about the Zika virus and the harm it causes to pregnant women and their children. The virus ridden mosquitos have spread to the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Mexico and the South Pacific. Basically, places that are warm and tropical.
So, what does this mean for your destination wedding? I’ve probably gotten you to start feeling itchy with all this mosquito talk, but it’s an important question to ask especially if you thinking about having your destination wedding in an active Zika virus area that is popular for destination weddings like Costa Rica, Mexico or the Caribbean. To help you plan for the Zika virus, we’ve got 4 tips to make your destination wedding as virus free as possible.
4 Tips to Handling the Zika Virus at Your Destination Wedding
1. Aim for a Zika free location. If you haven’t yet decided on a destination location, try to pick a spot that isn’t currently on the active Zika virus list. For example, as of today (4/19/16) in the Caribbean, St. Barts, Turks and Caicos, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands are Zika free. Check the up to date CDC list of active Zika locations to help guide you. If you’re ok with a non-beachy location, the safest locations will be at elevations above 6,500 ft. because the mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus don’t live that high due to the environmental conditions.
2. Think about your pregnant (or possibly soon to be pregnant) friends. Take a quick look at your guest list and see who is pregnant now and who you think might have a chance of being pregnant by your wedding date. Now, how many people are you looking at? Hopefully, this is a small number, but if it’s a large proportion of your guests or it’s your closest friends, you may want to reconsider your destination location if you’ve picked an active Zika virus location (or even a Zika free location). This is a hugely personal decision and depends on how important these people are to you and how important this location is to you. For those not changing your location, while you can’t plan for everyone and you don’t know what will happen come your wedding day, knowing ahead of time who might pull out will help you to adjust and plan accordingly as the time nears.
3. Warn your guests and if you know of anyone who is pregnant, email them directly. Make sure to mention the Zika virus status of your location on your wedding website and update it if anything should change. If you have any close family or friends who are pregnant reach out to them directly to let them know what the situation is so they can plan as well.
4. Take precautions. While you and the majority of your guests may not be pregnant, the Zika virus is still a virus that comes with fever, rash, and joint pain. So, getting it isn’t fun no matter who you are. Make sure to encourage your guests to bring mosquito repellant and have some handy in their welcome gifts and at every event so that you’re doing your best to protect not only yourself but everyone you love as well.
One last note – The Zika virus is continuing to spread and they are predicting that the mosquitos will end up in the US this summer in warm, wet places like Miami and Charleston. So, you may not be able to run from it unless you either pick a wedding location in a high elevation or one that isn’t mosquito heavy. It’s something to keep that in mind before you pick or change locations.
(Photo credit: McAllister Photography)
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