A Look Into The Zika Virus
You can never be too careful, especially when it comes to traveling. If you are going overseas in the near future, it would be wise to educate yourself on potential viruses and diseases that you could be exposed to. Awareness of these illnesses will allow you more control in keeping yourself free from infection or, if you do become infected, acquire the information as to which treatments you should seek. The Zika virus is becoming more widespread and you should see your healthcare provider if you find yourself with symptoms of it.
What Is The Zika Virus?
Zika virus is spread by mosquitos and usually causes symptoms such as fever, joint pain, rashes, soreness, and headaches. There is rarely a need for hospitalization as symptoms tend to be rather mild. They usually last around a week and will go away without the use of any medication. If you have been out of the country recently and find yourself with multiple mosquito bites, you will want to contact your doctor if these symptoms occur to see if you may be infected.
Preventing The Zika Virus
A big way you can prevent the Zika virus (or similar types of illnesses) is to promote awareness in yourself and others. The more that people know about it, the more precautions they can take. Since it is spread through mosquito bites, you can avoid acquiring it by doing your best to not get bitten. Stock up on insect repellents when you travel and bring protective barriers for when you sleep. You will also want to dress accordingly by wearing long sleeves, pants, and light-colored clothing. Mosquitos breed in areas with water, so avoid leaving any water containers uncovered or in areas exposed to mosquitos.
Treating The Zika Virus
There is no specified medication when it comes to the Zika virus. A vaccine has not yet been found, but it can be cured by taking good care of your body. If you are diagnosed, you should allow yourself plenty of rest and be sure to drink a lot of water. If you want to take something for a fever or for any pain that you might be experiencing, acetaminophen is recommended. If you are already on medication, clear it with your doctor before taking anything else. You will also want to avoid the possibility of mosquito bites for at least a week to avoid spreading the virus further.
Who Is At Risk?
If you are pregnant, you should avoid the Zika virus at all cost as it can be spread to the baby. While extensive information is not known about the effects this illness will have on the infant, microcephaly, a defect in the brain, has been reported for babies whose mothers are diagnosed. It can be harmful in any trimester, so if you are pregnant or planning to be, avoid traveling to any area in which you may be exposed to the virus. Also, the Zika virus has the potential to be spread through sexual intercourse, so partners of these women should avoid it as well.
As of 2018, there have been no signs of the Zika virus being transmitted through the mosquitos in the United States. However, between 2015 and 2018 there have been a total of over 40,000 reported cases of patients being infected with the Zika virus in the United States.
Areas around the world that are most at risk of the Zika virus include Mexico, Central America, South America, Africa, and South Asian countries.