The media has been talking a good bit lately about a “major crisis” (Zika). While it is true that the virus is projected to infect up to four million people in 2016 (according to World Health Organization), it is not a concern for most of us. Here’s five things you need to know about Zika:
Q. What is it? A virus carried by the Aedes mosquito that causes mild (or no) illness in most people. It is more dangerous for pregnant women as there have been reports of a rare birth defect that causes brain abnormalities and small heads. It should be noted that a direct correlation has not been found between Zika and these birth defects but erring on the side of caution is advised. It is recommended that pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant avoid high risk areas (see below).
Q. What are the symptoms? Fever, rash, and sometimes joint pain and headache.
Q. What is the treatment if contracted? There is no treatment. The best thing is to avoid mosquito bites, especially in outbreak areas (right now that is Central America, South America, Mexico and the Caribbean). Those that have it often don’t even know it because the symptoms are typically mild.
Q. What is the best protection against Zika? Use a good insect repellent. Don’t forget to spray all over including the back of your neck and your ankles. Wear long sleeves and long pants. Avoid being outdoors for prolonged periods of time at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are more prevalent.
Q. Is an outbreak in the U.S. imminent? According to the Center for Disease Control is it not likely because we don’t have Aedes mosquitoes here. Also, we have air-conditioning so there are less points of entry and we have a less dense population.
For more about this and to check to see if there are any other health concerns visit www.cdc.gov/zika.
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