You’ve no doubt heard of the Zika virus. After all, it’s all over the news these days. Zika virus is one that can harm your health, and while it may not be all that prevalent in the United States, it has cropped up in other countries and could find itself to the States pretty soon. When it comes to your health, it’s important to understand the things that could compromise you. Here’s what the health experts want you to know about Zika virus.
1. Zika Virus is Transmitted through Mosquito Bites
The most common way to catch Zika virus is via a mosquito bite. When a person with the virus is bitten, then you are bitten by the same mosquito, you could wind up with the illness. However, pregnant women can also pass the virus to their unborn babies and it can also be passed through unprotected sex and through a blood transfusion. Knowing how you can get the virus can help you protect yourself.
2. What Are the Symptoms?
Many people with Zika virus don’t actually exhibit any symptoms of the illness. However, it can cause long term problems if you aren’t aware you have it or don’t get it treated. If you’ve been exposed to the virus, be sure you stay alert for a minor fever or rash, which could indicate that you’re infected. Other symptoms include joint or muscle pain, headache and redness in the eyes. If you experience any of these things, see your doctor right away.
3. Areas Where Zika Has Been Seen
Before 2015, the Zika virus was only diagnosed in Asia, Polynesia and Africa. However it has spread to other places due to travel to these places. Brazil experienced a massive outbreak and it has been diagnosed in Florida, Texas and California. Once the mosquitos make it to other countries, the virus could conceivably turn up anywhere. Caution is important if you live in an area where there have been any number of diagnosed Zika cases.
4. You Probably Don’t Need to Be Afraid of a Breakout
Experts say that most people won’t have to worry about an outbreak of Zika virus. It tends to break out in places where people have many mosquitos in their homes that bite them over and over. In places where there is air conditioning and screens on the windows, the danger of Zika virus goes way down.
5. Can I Travel?
Just because Zika virus is around doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t travel. However, if you plan to go somewhere that has diagnosed cases of the virus, you should use caution. This is especially true if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If that’s the case, you’re probably better off choosing an alternate destination. Talk to your doctor before you travel to any location that has an outbreak of the Zika virus.
6. There’s No Vaccine for Zika
Often when you travel to a place that experiences certain diseases or illnesses, you can get a preventative shot before you leave. That’s not the case with the Zika virus. Experts say that a vaccine is still many years away so you can’t rely on a shot to keep you from getting ill.
7. Treatment for the Zika Virus
Unfortunately, because Zika hasn’t been all that widespread until recently, there is no developed medications for the illness. Most of the time, doctors work to relieve the symptoms of the illness. Treatment is important because the virus can cause Guillain-Barre syndrome or miroencephaly.
What did you learn about Zika virus?