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Mommy Zone September 18, 2018

By a Doctor – What moms-to-be should know about the Zika virus

In 2016, the WHO declared the Zika virus to be a global medical emergency.1 Although there have not been too many new cases of the Zika virus infection, it nonetheless poses a serious threat to pregnant women and others. The Zika virus has been found to cause various birth defects in babies born to pregnant women who are infected.

 

What is the Zika virus?

The Zika virus is mosquito-borne and spread by the Aedes mosquito; the same species that transmits Dengue, Chikungunya, and Yellow Fever.

 

How is the Zika virus transmitted?

The virus is transmitted when an infected person is bitten by a mosquito, which then bites other people. It can also spread from a pregnant woman to her baby. In addition, the virus has also been found to spread through sexual intercourse and some studies observed the presence of the virus in the saliva, blood, urine, and eye fluid of an infected person.

 

Zika Virus Symptoms

Though most infected people won’t show any symptoms, a few (about 1 in 5) may display the following symptoms, which could range from mild to severe:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Pink eye (conjunctivitis)

Symptoms may show up any time from 3-14 days after a mosquito bite and can remain for several days to a week.

 

Zika and pregnancy 

During a pregnancy, the virus can cause serious birth defects of the brain, such as microcephaly (babies born with abnormally small heads), brain damage, and Guillain-Barré syndrome (where healthy nerve cells are attacked by one’s own immune system). In addition, it could also cause miscarriage and stillbirth. Hence, pregnant women are advised to steer clear of areas prone to Zika virus risks.

 

Treatment 

There is no vaccine or medicine/treatment for Zika.

 

Zika Virus Prevention

The only sure-fire preventive method is to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes, period. Since we can’t tell which mosquitoes are vectors and which are not, the only option is to block them all. This can be achieved by taking the following steps:

  • Use Goodknight Patches, which are a safe and highly effective solution for keeping mosquitoes at bay. Made from herbal products, it’s completely safe for pregnant women and small children. These can be applied to clothes or items nearby to create a mosquito-free zone for up to eight hours.
  • Stay indoors and ensure the doors and windows of your home have screens to thwart these pests.
  • Wear suitable clothing that covers most of your body, such as long-sleeved shirts, and long pants with socks and shoes.
  • Keep your surroundings clean, and pay special attention to areas where mosquitoes can breed, such as standing water, flower pots, old tires etc.

To conclude, the Zika virus can only be prevented by preventing mosquito bites. So, take appropriate steps now to keep you and your baby safe and healthy.

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