Texas Children’s Hospital teams with H-E-B and Cutter® Insect Repellents to educate and arm community against Zika

HOUSTON – Aug. 3, 2016 – Texas Children’s Hospital is excited to team up with H-E-B and Cutter® Insect Repellents to launch a community-based initiative to help vulnerable Houstonians prepare for and prevent the spread of the Zika virus. To learn more, visit texaschildrens.org/zika.

As a way to arm the community, all three entities will provide 50,000 bags with educational brochures, duct tape and insect repellent free of charge to those in targeted areas who may be at an increased risk of contracting and spreading the Zika virus. The free bags will be distributed to patients of Texas Children’s Pediatrics Community Cares practices, Texas Children’s Health Plan Centers for Children and Women and at three select H-E-B locations in these areas.

Zika is a virus transmitted to humans through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes which can be found both indoors and outside. Once infected, a person can spread the virus by being bitten by an Aedes mosquito that then bites another individual, or through sexual contact. Pregnant women can transmit Zika to their unborn child as well.

 “We are excited to work with H-E-B and Cutter Insect Repellents to help meet a critical need for so many members of our community,” says Dr. Mark W. Kline, physician-in-chief at Texas Children’s and the J.S. Abercrombie professor and chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. “We believe it is only a matter of time before the Zika virus is prevalent in our community. Helping to educate and provide the tools needed to protect those families most at risk of contracting and spreading the disease is something we feel strongly must be done.”

Though many people who have Zika may never know they were infected, for those who do experience symptoms they may present with rash, fever, pink eye and joint pain. These symptoms are typically mild and clear up in less than a week. However, Zika can be a serious disease, particularly when it occurs in a pregnant woman. Infection during pregnancy can result in serious birth defects, including microcephaly (a smaller than normal brain and head size). Although most children and adults infected with Zika will only have mild illness, a small number may suffer complications involving the brain and nervous system, such as temporary or permanent paralysis. Deaths from Zika are rare.

As of July 2016, no cases of Zika have been transmitted locally by a mosquito bite, but the virus has been diagnosed in travelers returning to Texas from other countries. Aedes mosquitoes are very common in Texas and across the Gulf Coast, so Zika cases among returning travelers have the potential to result in the local spread of the virus.

As a way to help reduce the risk of being bitten by a mosquito and becoming infected with Zika, there are three simple steps families can take.

  • Repel: Apply a DEET-containing insect repellent when outdoors. DEET is the most effective form of insect repellent and is safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as children older than 2 months of age. Follow instructions on the product and do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes or mouth, or onto a cut or irritated skin. Insect repellent may need to be reapplied. If using sunscreen, apply that first and insect repellent second.
  • Repair: If possible, use air conditioning and close windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home. Repair or replace damaged screens on windows or doors. Inspect screens throughout the house. Simple duct tape can be used to repair any holes in screens.
  • Remove: Inspect the area around the home and eliminate places mosquitoes can use to lay eggs. Mosquitoes need standing water to reproduce, so empty, turn over, cover or throw out anything that can hold standing water, including old tires, buckets, planters, plastic pools, birdbaths, flower pots, trash cans, cups, toys, etc.

“H-E-B is committed to preserving and improving the health and wellness of the people within the communities we serve. As Texas prepares to address the effects of the Zika virus, H-E-B is combining resources with Texas Children’s to educate and prevent the spread of the virus in the Houston area. Prevention packets will be available in both English and Spanish, for free, at three of our Houston locations – Gulfgate, Kempwood and Beechnut,” says Winell Herron, group vice-president public affairs, diversity and environmental affairs.

The 50,000 free bags will be distributed to patients of the following Texas Children’s Pediatrics Community Cares sites where families who otherwise would seek care from emergency centers, or possibly go without care due to low family incomes and/or lack of health insurance, benefit from access to trusted, high-quality pediatric medical services. These sites are able to provide children something no clinic or emergency center can offer: consistent, pediatric health care tailored to their needs.

  • Texas Children's Pediatrics Gulfgate
  • Texas Children's Pediatrics Corinthian Pointe
  • Texas Children's Pediatrics Cullen
  • Texas Children's Pediatrics Gulfton
  • Texas Children's Pediatrics Ripley House
  • Texas Children's Pediatrics Kingsland

The bags will also be available to patients at the Centers for Children and Women, two patient and family-centered medical homes that provide Texas Children's Health Plan members the highest quality community-based health care, education and advocacy in a convenient setting with extended hours. 

  • The Center for Children and Women in Greenspoint
  • The Center for Children and Women in Southwest Houston

Members of the community who are not patients of these locations can also pick up a free bag while supplies last at any of the following H-E-B locations:

  • H-E-B Gulfgate at 3111 Woodridge
  • H-E-B Kempwood and Gessner at 10251 Kempwood
  • H-E-B Beechnut at 10100 Beechnut

About Texas Children’s Hospital

Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Tower for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, a second community hospital planned to open in 2017. The organization also created the nation’s first HMO for children, has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news by visiting the online newsroom and Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.

Media Contact 
Jenn Jacome