The Zika Virus and You

The ZIKA virus has been receiving a lot of media attention these past few months in part because of the expected migration of thousands of people to and from Brazil for the 2016 Olympics which are now over with Team USA topping the medal table! (Go Team USA!)

The Zika virus is a disease believed to be spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also spread by having unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone infected with the disease.

Hundreds of cases have been reported in 2016 with over 20 suspected cases in Indiana from people returning from countries with a higher infection rate.

In most cases, there are no symptoms. In a few cases, Zika can trigger paralysis (Guillain-Barré Syndrome). In pregnant women, it may cause subsequent birth defects.
When present, symptoms are mild and last less than a week. They include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes.
There's no vaccine or specific treatment. Instead the focus is on relieving symptoms and includes rest, rehydration, and acetaminophen for fever and pain. Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen should be avoided.
Ways to protect yourself from ZIKA include bug repellant with active ingredients DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, picaridin, or IR 3535 - wear clothes that cover your entire body, your feet included and look into clothes that have already been treated fully with permethrin - eliminate mosquito breeding grounds around your home - exercise inside - avoid countries or areas with a high infection rate.
If you’re pregnant, talk to your physician, and possibly reconsider your trip. The CDC issued an advisory this month for pregnant women to consider postponing travel to affected countries.