Prevention of Zika
The Zika Virus continues to give the world a scare with its increasing morbidity rates and by rapidly spreading around the globe. Though there have been previous reports of outbreaks in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil in May 2015. Since then, local transmission has been reported in many other countries and territories.
At present, no vaccine exists to prevent as well as no specific prophylactic treatment to address Zika virus disease. However, you can protect yourself basing on protection against mosquito bites since it has been said that thebest way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. Below are some tips to protect yourself from acquiring the dreaded Zika virus:
- Since mosquitoes that spread Zika virus, Aedes mosquitoes, bite during the daytime both indoors and outdoors, personal protection measures should be applied during the day. It must be noted that Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus also spread dengue and chikungunya viruses.
- When traveling to countries where Zika virus or other viruses spread by mosquitoes are found, take the following steps:
>Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, especially during the hours of highest mosquito activity.
>Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
>Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
>Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breast-feeding women.
– Always follow the product label instructions
– Reapply insect repellent as directed.
– Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
– If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.
> If you have a baby or child:
– Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age.
– Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs, or
– Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
– Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
– Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
>Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items.
– Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See product information to learn how long the protection will last.
– If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.
– Do NOT use permethrin products directly on skin. They are intended to treat clothing.
- Travelers, especially children, pregnant women, and people with immune disorders or severe chronic illnesses, should consult their doctor or seek advice from a travel clinic to receive personalized recommendations on use of repellents and protection before travelling.
- Similar protective measures apply to a symptomatic patient in order to prevent transmitting the disease to non-infected mosquitoes.
- Reduce mosquito breeding sites in outdoor/indoor areas by draining or discarding sources of standing water at the community level through:
- removal of all open containers with stagnant water in and surrounding houses on a regular basis (flower plates and pots, used tyres, tree-holes and rock pools), or, if that is not possible, treatment with larvicides)
- tight coverage of water containers, barrels, wells and water storage tanks
- wide use of window/door screens by the population
- installing or repairing screens on windows and doors
- using air conditioning if available.
- If you have Zika, protect others from getting sick
- During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.
- To help prevent others from getting sick, avoid mosquito bites during the first week of illness.
- You can also take measures to treat your symptoms, such as:
- Getting plenty of rest.
- Drinking fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Taking medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to relieve fever and pain.
- Not taking aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.