Recently the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of mosquitoes is the new threat of the Zika virus. The Zika Virus has not spread to the United States, but that does not mean that we shouldn’t educate ourselves on what to do in order to prevent the contraction and spread of the virus.
Zika is primarily spread via mosquito bites in Latin and South America. If you find yourself traveling in these areas it is important to properly protect yourself against the possibility of infection.
Wearing long sleeves and pants, using mosquito repellent, and utilizing proper netting and screens over beds and windows will go a long way to reduce your chances of contracting the disease if you are travelling through an area where Zika is a threat.
The symptoms of Zika vary greatly with almost 70% percent of people who are infected not showing any symptoms at all. For an individual, the strongest symptoms present themselves in a similar fashion to the flu, including fever and chills. However the largest threat posed by Zika is to the unborn children of pregnant mothers. The contraction of Zika during pregnancy has been shown to lead to various debilitating brain disorders in the unborn child. It is especially important to take every step possible to avoid Zika if you or your partner is pregnant.
If You’ve Been Traveling
After you return from an area affected by Zika, there are still important steps you can take in case you are carrying the virus to prevent it from spreading in your home neighborhood. One of the most important things to do is to make sure you limit your chances of getting bitten by mosquitoes for three weeks after your return. If you or your partner have traveled through an area affected by Zika it is important to take precautions and avoid getting infected or passing on the virus. No vaccine exists at the moment.
For more information and updates of the Zika virus there is a wealth of information that can be accessed at cdc.gov/zika.