Have you been paying attention to the Zika virus and how it is slowly moving into our cities and communities? This has me concerned. Why? Because I am prone to being bit by mosquitos not to mention my dogs.
Being that you can get bitten by a mosquito and contract the virus causes a bit of nervousness. You can play it down and think it will not touch you but I have already been bitten by mosquitos just taking my dogs out into the backyard. You have to make sure there is not any standing water to help keep the mosquitos down.
What is Zika?
Zika virus was first discovered in 1947 and is named after the Zika Forest in Uganda. In 1952, the first human cases of Zika were detected and since then, outbreaks of Zika has been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Zika outbreaks have probably occurred in many locations.
Before 2007, at least 14 cases of Zika had been documented, although other cases were likely to have occurred and were not reported. Because the symptoms of Zika are similar to those of many other diseases, many cases may not have been recognized.
In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Local transmission has been reported in many other countries and territories. Zika virus will likely continue to spread to new areas.
The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache.
If you are pregnant and develop a fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes within 2 weeks after traveling to a place where Zika has been reported. Be sure to tell your doctor or other healthcare provider where you traveled. The good news you very rarely die of Zika.
There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika virus.
Treat the symptoms:
• Get plenty of rest.
• Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
• Take medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or paracetamol to reduce fever and pain.
• If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider before taking additional medication.
In order to protect ourselves, using a repellent is the only protection we have right now. CDC recommends the use of products containing active ingredients which have been registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use as repellents applied to skin and clothing. Of the products registered with the EPA, those containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide longer-lasting protection.
This is by no means the definitive knowledge on the Zika virus. You just need to be aware as the summer comes closer how to protect yourself and who is at risk.
This is information that will hopefully make you more aware and be proactive in protecting yourself against this virus.
Information courtesy of http://www.cdc.gov/zika/
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Damita Miller-Shanklin, Ujima Magazine