What You Need to Know About the Zika Virus

The Zika Virus has been the center of news discussion over the past few months as it causes many health issues to those who receive it. Zika is spread mostly through the bite of a specific species of mosquito that bite during the day and night. Its transmission has spread to the United States, where people are now concerned about their livelihood and chances of obtaining the virus. Many areas in the U.S. now have the type of mosquitos that spread the virus, which is why it is important to understand more about the bites, virus, and how to stay protected.

People who receive the Zika virus may not even know that they have it. In fact, only 1 in 5 people with the virus will show any symptoms. Some of the symptoms that they may experience include fever, rash, joint pain, and redness in the whites of the eye. As of right now, there is no treatment for the virus so a patient must let it run its course over the span of a few days or weeks. The best way to get through this is by taking over-the-counter medications for aches and pains.

Dangers to Those Who Are Pregnant

One of the most serious ways that the virus can display itself is in the presence of a pregnant woman. The Zika infection is extremely harmful to pregnant women and can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly if the mother becomes infected at any time during her pregnancy. Microcephaly can be life threatening and is marked as a sign of incomplete brain development. If you are pregnant and have a partner who lives in or traveled to an area that is known to contain the Zika virus, always have protected sex during your pregnancy to reduce the risk of obtaining the virus. You should also abstain from traveling to one of these areas yourself or speak to your provider about how to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.

Microcephaly is extremely prevalent in Brazil since it first appeared there last May. Since the Zika virus has become known in Brazil, over 1,700 babies have been born with the microcephaly defect or another type of brain defect that is linked to the infection. Brazil has actually advised women to postpone pregnancy at any cost due to the outbreak. Research has shown that obtaining the Zika virus during the first few months of pregnancy or when the organs are still forming, is the worst time because it can damage them the most.

Protection From the Zika Virus

  • You should prevent mosquito bites at any cost. This might include using insect repellant or wearing long sleeved shirts and pants.
  • Plan for travel by understanding where some of the worst outbreaks are.
  • Protect yourself during sex, since Zika can be passed through sex.

By understanding the risks of Zika, we can learn to protect ourselves in many of the territories where the virus exhibits itself. This can lead to much safer and healthier citizens and pregnancies in general.