10 Facts You Have To Know About The Zika Virus
When it comes to your health, staying educated is important. This is especially true for those who like to travel and can find themselves exposed to illnesses throughout the world. Being aware of what causes certain diseases and knowing how to avoid them best will save you a lot of stress and will help in keeping these illnesses contained. One virus that is becoming much more widespread is the Zika virus. Read up on some facts about this virus, so that you will be prepared just in case.
10. Spread Through Mosquitos
The Zika virus is delivered to its recipients through mosquito bites. If a mosquito has bitten an infected person, it will travel and bite more and more people, thus spreading the infection rapidly. Because of this, it is important to take extra precautions if you find yourself in a location where the Zika virus is known to occur.
The first thing you will need is an adequate supply of insect repellent. Apply it liberally and often to avoid getting bit. It is also wise to cover up as much as your body as possible and to wear light-colored clothing. At night, surround yourself with netting that prevents mosquitos from entering your sleeping area to keep you safe and bug-free.
9. Originated In 1947
In April of 1947, the Zika virus made its debut into the world. Scientists were in the Zika Forest of Uganda doing research and discovered the infection in a monkey that they were examining. It was later given its official name in 1948 when it is was found again in a different monkey in the same location.
A few years later, in 1954, the virus was discovered in a human and has now been spread through mosquito bites for years. Recent outbreaks have brought more attention to this virus, giving rise to a greater awareness regarding symptoms and how to treat them.
While there is no vaccine that will get rid of the Zika virus, it can be fought off by taking the proper precautions. Getting plenty of rest is key as this will allow your body the chance to fight off the viruses that are attacking it. Other steps include drinking a lot of fluids and, if you are wanting to ease pain, try taking acetaminophen for some relief.
If you are on any other medication be sure to speak with your doctor about how to proceed as far as pain relief. Throughout your recovery process, be sure to avoid mosquito bites at all costs as this could cause further spreading of the Zika virus.
7. Harmful To Fetuses
Those who are pregnant or who think that they might be pregnant should avoid this virus at all costs. It will be spread to the baby and could cause birth defects or other complications. Microcephaly, which is a defect in the brain, has been reported in infants whose mothers are diagnosed with the Zika virus.
More research has yet to be done as to the effects of this disease on unborn children, but it is clear that it is harmful. Pregnant women should then stay away from areas of the world that are known for this illness and do their best to avoid mosquito bites. Once the Zika virus is healed, it has not shown to have any effects on future pregnancies.
6. Rarely Fatal
The Zika virus has proven to be very manageable and usually goes away in less than one week. As larger outbreaks of the virus have occurred, some deaths associated with it have been reported. The true cause of these deaths is still being explored, as the Zika virus is not known for being a fatal illness.
Some researchers believe the cause of these deaths is due to another disease is known for being life-threatening, and that Zika virus just happened to be in the person’s system when they passed away. Should you find yourself infected, there is no immediate cause for alarm. See your doctor and follow his instructions as far as treatment.
5. Symptoms Are Mild
Symptoms of the Zika virus do not raise much concern and are similar to the flu or a cold. The main things you will typically experience are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis is when your eyes become irritated, red, and watery. The rash will likely be red and covered in tiny bumps. Other symptoms, such as headaches and sweating, might also occur with the Zika virus.
All of these are manageable and can be treated with rest and keeping yourself properly hydrated. Your doctor may recommend that you take acetaminophen for any pain you might experience, but you should check with your physician before doing so, especially if you are on other medication.
4. May Be Spread Through Intercourse
It is suspected the Zika virus can be spread through sexual intercourse, as well as mosquito bites. There have been reports of this occurring throughout the world, emphasizing the importance of being very careful when being sexually active. If your partner has the Zika virus, abstain from intercourse until the virus has passed.
Pregnant women should be especially careful, as their baby could be harmed if the Zika virus shows up in the mother’s system. For this reason, the partners of pregnant women should take the same precautions as far as avoiding this virus at all costs. Traveling to areas with the virus is not advised for either the mother or her partner and they should both try to avoid mosquito bites.
3. Vaccines Are Coming
Researchers are working on a vaccine for the Zika virus, but it seems to be progressing slowly. Despite receiving government funding and pushing from the president, it is still estimated to be over one and a half years from being developed.
When it comes to discovering and testing new vaccines, the process tends to be slow. This is to ensure that safety levels are maintained throughout this delicate process. In the past, scientists were less cautious as far as testing vaccines on their patients, which led to many unnecessary deaths. Now, researchers want to ensure that all vaccines are safe for their recipients before administering anything.
2. It Has Spread In Recent Years
Zika virus outbreaks were always confined to Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Last year, the virus was reported in Brazil and, since then, more and more areas throughout the world have been reporting outbreaks. As far the United States, only travel-related cases have been reported.
This virus will likely continue to spread as more people travel to affected areas. Most cases of the virus go undiagnosed, making it more difficult to track. Once the infected people get bitten, the mosquitos will continue spreading the virus, thus causing more and more outbreaks all throughout the world. This is why it is important to contact your doctor immediately if you feel that you might be infected.
1. You Can Work To Prevent It
The biggest step you can take as far as preventing the spread of the Zika virus is educating yourself and others. By being aware of the symptoms, you can get yourself accurately diagnosed and take the proper precautions as far as keeping it contained.
You can also take the right steps are far as ensuring that you do not get the virus at all. If you are traveling in the near future, study up on your location and see if it has reported any cases of the Zika virus. If it does, be sure to avoid mosquito bites at all costs by using insect repellent and covering as much skin as possible.