Before 2015, Zika virus outbreaks only occurred in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. In 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) declared an alert regarding the first Zika virus infections in Brazil. Up to this time, outbreaks are spreading throughout many countries. Due to the rapid spread of the virus, it will be difficult to determine where and how the virus will spread over time. It is important to be aware of Zika fever symptoms.
1. Zika Fever Symptoms: Symptoms
About one in five people infected with Zika virus become ill. The most frequent symptoms are fever, headache, rash, muscle pain, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. The incubation period is unknown but is likely to be several days to a week.
See your doctor if you are pregnant and develop symptoms as mentioned above within two weeks after traveling to a place where Zika virus is circulating. Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel history. The illness is often mild with symptoms lasting for a few days to a week after being bitten by an infect mosquito.
Quite often, people do not get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they rarely die of Zika. Many people might not even realize they have been infect. Zika virus remains in the blood of patients for about a week but sometimes, longer. Once a person has been infect, he is likely to be protect from future infections.
2. Zika Fever Symptoms: Diagnosis
Zika infection shares the symptoms with dengue and chikungunya since they are all spread by the same mosquitoes – Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. If you develop the symptoms described above, immediately go to the hospital. The healthcare provider will order specialized blood tests to detect Zika or other similar viruses in your blood.
3. Zika Fever Symptoms: Transmission
Through mosquito bites
- Aedes mosquitoes lay eggs in and near standing water such as buckets, bottles, bowls, old tires, animal dishes, flower pots, and vases. They are aggressive biters that operate during day and night.
- Mosquitoes become infected after they feed on a person already contracted the virus. Infected mosquitoes then spread the virus to other healthy people through their bites.
From mother to child
- A pregnant woman already infected with Zika virus can pass on the virus to her baby at the time of birth.
- An expectant mother can transmit Zika virus to her fetus during pregnancy. Scientists are studying how Zika affects pregnancies.
- So far, there is no report of newborns contracting Zika virus through breastfeeding. Due to the benefits of breastfeeding, mothers are advised to breastfeed even in regions where Zika virus is raging.
Through sexual contact
- A man can spread Zika virus to his sex partners.
- Zika virus exists in semen longer than in blood.
- In one case, the virus was spread several days before symptoms developed.
Through blood transfusion
- Before February 1, 2016, there has not been any confirmed blood transfusion transmission case in the United States.
- Multiple reports of blood transfusion transmission cases appear in Brazil. Scientists are currently investigating them.
- During the French Polynesian epidemic, 2.8% of blood donors were positive for Zika. In previous cases, the virus has been found in blood donors.
4. Zika Fever Symptoms: Insect Repellent Use
CDC recommends the use of products containing DEET, IR3535, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and para-menthane-diol. The products registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) means that EPA does not expect any adverse effects to human health or the environment. Always follow the instructions on the product label. Here are some EPA recommendations when using insect repellents:
- Never use repellents on cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
- Only apply repellents to exposed skin or clothing. Do not apply them under your clothing.
- Use a moderate amount of repellent. A heavy application does not offer you better or longer lasting protection.
- Do not apply to eyes, ears, or mouth. Apply on your hands first and then put it on your face – do not spray directly on your face.
- When using on children, spay to your own hands first and then apply to them. Avoid applying repellent to children’s hands since children often put their hands in their eyes and mouths.
- After returning home, wash treated skin with soap and water. This is crucial when repellents are regularly used in a day or on successive days.
- If you get a rash or other reaction, stop using the repellent. Wash the repellent with mild soap and water. Call a health center for further guidance. Take the repellent with you when you go to a doctor.
Most products are safe for children and pregnant or nursing women. Only those with oil of lemon eucalyptus are unsuitable for children under three years old. More information can be found in EPA precautions for using register repellents on children.
5. Zika Fever Symptoms: Some Advise before Treatment!
People can, and should, use both an insect repellent and a sunscreen when they are outdoors. Read the instructions on the label for proper application of each product. In general, the sunscreen is apply first and then the repellent.
It is not advisable to use a single product combining insect repellent and sunscreen. No need to reapply repellent as often as sunscreen. There is no particular recommendation for such integrate products. Just follow the instructions on whatever product you are using.
Permethrin is a repellent and insecticide. Use clothing, bed nets, and camping gear that contain permethrin since they can kill ticks, bugs, mosquitoes, and other arthropods. These products continue to kill insects after several washings. Reapply permethrin according to the label instructions.
6. Zika Fever Symptoms: Treatment
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink many fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Take medicine containing acetaminophen (e.g., paracetamol) to relieve pain and fever.
- Never take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They can worsen internal bleeding.
- Talk to your doctor if you are taking additional drugs for another medical condition.
If you have Zika fever symptoms, remember to avoid mosquito bites. Zika virus can be found in the blood of an infected person during the first week of infection. After a mosquito bites a patient, it will become an infected mosquito and then spread the virus to other people.
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