Just what do you know about the "Zika Virus", that mosquito- borne illness that is in the news all the time now it seems? Did you know that it has actually been around since 1947? Yep that's right, it started in Africa and spread to Asia and the Pacific islands, then to Latin American and the Caribbean where it is rapidly spreading now.
So what are the symptoms of Zika?
- Most people don't know they have been affected with the virus at all, they will have no symptoms
- The most common symptoms can be fever, rash, joint pains, conjunctivitis (redness of the eyes) , muscle pain and/ or headaches possibly.
- The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.
- It is best to see your doctor or healthcare provider if you are pregnant and develop any of the symptoms above within 2 weeks of traveling to any of the affected countries/areas.
- Zika virus is usually a mild illness with symptoms lasting only a short time after being bit by an infected mosquito.
- People infected with the Zika virus do not usually need any kind of hospitalization and very rarely are ill enough to die from the virus. Please to not present to the Emergency room in a panic because you think you have symptoms of the Zika virus.
- There is no cure and no vaccine available yet, although they are working towards the vaccine.
Prevention: "Education is the key to prevention"
- There is no cure and no vaccine for Zika, so prevention is the best cure we have right now.
- Avoiding mosquito bites especially in areas that are know for outbreaks of the Zika virus.
- Prevent sexual transmission of the virus by using condoms or abstaining from sexual contact.
- Wear long sleeve protective clothing and pants to keep bare skin covered, be aware that mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus usually bite more in the day-time hours.
- Stay indoors in air conditioned rooms or keep screened doors closed to limit exposure
- Sleep under a mosquito net if you are in a heavily infested Zika area
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol. Choosing an EPA-registered repellent ensures the EPA has evaluated the product for effectiveness. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breast-feeding women. Always follow the product label instructions.
- If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.
- Protect children from mosquito bites (they need special care with chemical bug repellents)
- Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.
- Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than 3 years old.
- Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.
- Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
- Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
- Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
- Be sure to check your yard often, daily even for standing water and keep it dumped out. Mosquito's can breed in a tiny little bit of water, like the size of a bottle cap (sneaky little boogers), so be a detective and get rid of them.
- Protect your family and your community, it's just the right thing to do!
- Be smart about planning a pregnancy if you are going to travel to South America or the Caribbean , talk to your doctor first. It might be a better option to wait or delay your travel plans.
Reapply insect repellent as directed.
Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
Below is a great infographic I found that explains the Zika virus in detail (with a timeline) , symptoms, treatments and preventative measures.
Do you want more information about the Zika Virus? Here are a few links to visit and learn more.
Please educate yourself and be smart this summer about mosquitos, they can carry numerous virus's and diseases. With some prevention and a dose of smartness we can be smarter.
Have a great and safe weekend