The Olympics will be held in Brazil this summer—and the CDC has taken a stance on whether or not pregnant women should risk exposure to the Zika virus by attending.
Pregnant women should consider avoiding traveling to Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics, according to the CDC.
As we've previously reported, Zika could have scary repercussions if it affects pregnant women—the virus has been linked to Brazil's rise in cases of microcephaly, a disorder that can cause babies to born with extremely small heads. In light of this, it makes sense that the CDC would stand by its travel advisory, which states women should avoid traveling to the areas that have been hit with the Zika virus—including Brazil.
The Summer Olympic Games will be held in Rio de Janeiro from August 5 to 21 and the Paralympic Games have been scheduled for September 7 through September 18. Granted, we still have a few months until the Games begin, and we just might have this Zika situation under control by then. The CDC will continue updating their recommendations—but as of right now, they suggest pregnant women consider not attending the Olympics.
The advice from the CDC doesn't end there. If you must travel to the Olympics, it would be a good idea to speak with your doctor about the trip. It's also very important that pregnant women who travel despite the CDC's recommendations take precautions against mosquito bites—use a mosquito repellant after applying sunscreen; cover up in long sleeves, pants and hats; tuck your pants into your socks (yes, really) to prevent mosquitos from biting that exposed skin; wear closed shoes instead of sandals and stick to neutral-colored clothing, as mosquitos are attracted to bright colors and metallic fabrics (tempting if you're cheering on Team USA).
Since Zika can be sexually transmitted, you'll want to take precautions even if you aren't attending the Games. If you're with a male partner who has traveled to one of the areas, be sure to use protection or abstain from sex during your pregnancy. The suggestions don't just apply to pregnant women either: Soccer star Hope Solo made news when she claimed she would boycott the Olympics even though she is not pregnant at the moment. Her decision may have been a smart one, as the CDC suggested that women who are trying to become pregnant speak with their doctors before planning a trip to the Olympics as well. It remains to be seen if any other athletes drop out of the running as a result of the epidemic.