The Zika virus is the brand new nightmare for travellers, especially pregnant women.
And to make things worse, there’s no vaccine or medicine to prevent or treat Zika virus infections.
Since Zika can cause microcephaly and other severe brain defects on unborn babies, the stakes are high and precautions need to be taken.
But first, here’s what you need to know about Zika.
What You Need to Know About Zika
The Zika virus is spread mostly by the bite of an infected mosquito (Aedes species). These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. So there’s no safe period during the day and night to let your guards down.
And you can also get Zika through sex!
The Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Moreover, an infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects, like microcephaly and other severe brain defects.
But for non-pregnant travellers, many people infected with the Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. According to current research made by the CDC, it seems that the Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is strongly associated with Zika; however, only a small proportion of people with recent Zika virus infection get GBS.
What is GBS? Again, according to the CDC, the “Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is an uncommon sickness of the nervous system in which a person’s own immune system damages the nerve cells, causing muscle weakness, and sometimes, paralysis.”
If you think you are infected, a blood or urine test can confirm the diagnosis.
The last but not the least, because the mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus are found throughout the tropics, outbreaks will likely continue. Bad news, isn’t it?
But what can we do to protect ourselves?
How to Protect Yourself from Zika
Here are the 8 quickest and easiest ways to protect yourself from Zika.
- The easiest way to protect yourself the Zika virus is not to travel to areas with Zika. Obvious, don’t you think? 😉
- If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.
- Prevent mosquito bites during the day and night. To do that, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. And to get extra protection, treat clothing with permethrin.
- Use an EPA-registered insect repellent. It works! Look for the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or paramenthane-diol, or 2-undecanone.
- Stay in places with air conditioning or windows and door screens.
- Remove standing water around your home or the place where you stay, because this is where mosquitoes are laying their eggs.
- Be careful when returning home or when a loved one come back from an area with Zika, because returning travelers infected with Zika can spread the virus through mosquito bites.
- And since the Zika virus can spread through sex, couples with a partner who lives in or has traveled to an area with Zika should take steps to protect during intercourse.
What do you think of all this? Did you change travel plans already because of the Zika virus?
Please let me know how the Zika virus has impacted your life by commenting below 😉