How we love our travel – all of us have heard and are aware of the devastating health effects of the Zika virus – especially for women who have become infected while pregnant. While reviewing the recent media coverage – it finally has hit our Miami shores – it just dawned on me how important to tell my grown children to be very careful – for the spread, though slow, and authorities continue to try to quell any alarm or concern for Americans, the fact is that it has reached US soil and I quickly sent an email to my grown children to be forewarned when they travel not only international but also within the US. One can never be too careful!
As we are aware. The CDC is our greatest resource to refer to when considering which countries of the world we want to visit. I always take a peek prior to any of my international destinations to get up to date warnings with regards to terrorist threats as well as health information. I shall review here some key points which I encourage you to share with your family.
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to cover skin.
Use insect repellents, approved by the EPA. Be sure it contains DEET, plicaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol. Use as directed and pack before you go as some destinations it will be difficult to find. Pregnant women and children older than 2 months can use these products.
Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear – you can purchase already treated clothing or treat yourself.
Sleep in screened-in and air-conditioned rooms
Sleep under a mosquito bed net
For babies – sleeping and in strollers – you can get screen nets to cover
Serious birth defects – Zika has been linked to Gullain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) - a rare disorder that can cause muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.
Can be spread through semen – a man can pass it to his partner even if he shows no symptoms. Imperative that safe sex be followed though the use of condoms – from start to finish for vaginal and oral sex. Men with pregnant partners should also use condoms or refrain from having any sex.
Zika virus can pass from the mother to her fetus and cause a devastating birth defect called microcephaly . The baby has smaller brains that have not fully developed. Pregnant women NEVER should travel to any area with Zika – and as I mentioned, it has hit Miami, Florida!
All pregnant women should receive routine prenatal care, includng an ultrasound at 18 - 20 weeks.
Fever, rash, joint pain, red eyes are signs – though men when exposed may never have symptoms.
Even if a pregnant woman has no symptoms, if she has visited any area where Zika virus exists, she should be tested.
Again I cannot express the importance to be sure to discuss this with your family. I also just pose the thought that to date we really do not know all about this virus – as it may affect even the baby boomers. Scientists are urgently studying Zika and hopefully we will be able to get immunized against this horrific virus.
August 13, 2016