Zika, a mosquito-borne virus, has recently started spreading like wildfire to reach about 34 countries and territories. It is, therefore, important to know as much as you can about this pestilence to keep yourself and your child safe.
1. What is the Zika virus and why is it so serious?
Zika is a virus transmitted to humans by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The virus is dispersing quite rapidly now, especially in tropical areas where this species of mosquito is found. This mosquito belongs to the same family that causes Dengue, Chikungunya, and Yellow Fever. However, there is no medicine or vaccine to treat or cure Zika.
The virus has garnered attention due to its effect on unborn babies. Miscarriages, birth defects, stillborn babies, microcephaly etc. are some of its outcomes.
2. How does the Zika virus spread?
The most common way is via a bite from the Aedes mosquito. Unlike other viruses, Zika isn’t transmitted through a cough, sneeze, or casual contact. It can spread through sexual intercourse, organ transplants, blood transfusions, and from an infected mom-to-be to her unborn baby.
3. How long does the virus stay in the body?
Once someone is bitten, the virus remains in their bloodstream for a week or so.
4. Who is at risk?
Anyone and everyone who is living in an area where the Zika virus is prevalent – or travelling to one – are at risk.
5. What are the signs and symptoms?
There are a few mild signs/symptoms but they are barely noticeable at first. Those infected are most often unaware. Some issues that people might notice after 2-10 days are:
* Joint pain
* Muscle pain
6. How can you protect yourself?
Since there’s no treatment or vaccine, the only method of protection against the virus is to either avoid travelling to areas where the infection thrives or by following relevant precautionary measures such as:
* Wear full pants and long-sleeved shirts that are thick so that mosquitoes cannot reach your skin. Additionally, use a personal mosquito repellent such as Goodknight Fabric Roll-On on your clothes; it will keep you doubly protected.
* Keep windows and doors locked at all times and use the AC for ventilation.
* The Aedes mosquito typically bites during early mornings and late evenings. Staying indoors during this time is recommended.
* Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, so get rid of any stagnant water by draining it.
* Try to use products such as Goodknight Gold Flash System which diffuses through a room and protects your family from mosquito-borne illnesses. You can switch from normal mode to Activ mode when there are more mosquitoes in the room.
* For added protection use a mosquito net around your child’s bed.
The Zika virus has been around for decades, but recently it’s witnessed a large-scale outbreak. Since there’s no cure, treatment, or vaccine, it’s best to take preventive measures. Instead of being scared, be aware and be prepared!