For months the ZIKA virus has been highlighted in the news with the most recent cases of non-sexually transmitted Zika virus infections in the Miami Florida area of the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control1, Zika is a virus that can be transmitted through mosquito bites, sex, and from a pregnant woman to her fetus. The most damaging effects of Zika is to babies infected with the virus in utero by mothers who contract the virus. Thousands of babies have been reported to suffer severe birth defects, including brain damage. Symptoms of Zika virus include: fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis, muscle pain, and headache. There is currently no vaccination or treatments available for individuals infected by Zika. Dr Michele suggest the following top 3 tips to avoid the Zika virus:
- Be cautious when traveling to areas with Zika
- Avoid Mosquito bites
- Protect yourself during sex
Be Cautious When Traveling to Areas with Zika
The most reported cases of Zika have been in South American and Oceania/Pacific Island Countries. However, most recently the CDC issued a travel warning for individuals traveling to Miami, Florida. If you are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, travel to these areas is not advised.
Avoid Mosquito Bites
Protect yourself from mosquito bites by wearing insect repellent and protective clothing that will cover arms and legs. Also, check areas outside of your home to make sure there is no standing water. Mosquitoes are drawn to water and lay eggs near water.
Protect Yourself During Sex
Zika can be transmitted through sexual intercourse by individuals unknowingly infected with the virus. If you or your partner is pregnant and have traveled to or live in an area with reported cases of Zika, protect your unborn child by using a condom or abstaining from sexual activity.