Things to know about Zika
Several cases have been reported in the Miami Beach area and now one has even been found in the Tampa Bay region, on the other side of the state.
Dr. Charles Lockwood, OBGYN with the University of South Florida in Tampa, told NBC he believes Zika won't just be confined to Florida. There are, however, ways to attempt to prevent the virus.
Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
While there is no vaccine to actually prevent Zika, there are a few ways to try to avoid contraction. Evade mosquitos in any way possible and wear insect repellant whenever leaving the house. Wear clothing that covers up as much of your body as possible—long sleeves, long pants, etc. And exercise indoors. Mosquitos are naturally attracted to heat and carbon dioxide—the body emits a lot of both during a workout.
In most cases, you would have no idea the virus has entered your body. If you do get sick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes would most likely be the symptoms to set in. CDC goes on to say "Zika has also been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a rare disorder that can cause muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. Most people fully recover from GBS, but some have permanent damage and, in some cases, people have died."
The ways of actually preventing the virus are slim, for now. What we do know: the mosquitos that spread the virus attack during the day as opposed to night.
Lockwood worries about it spreading.
"For people in areas where there is an outbreak, it is the scariest thing since Polio," said Lockwood.
The difference now is that we have the knowledge and capability to protect ourselves. Insect repellent is a key factor; you just have to know how to administer it correctly. Always apply it after sunscreen and make sure not to forget your feet—the mosquitos that carry the virus have a particular attraction to feet.
While there are many ways to try and protect yourself from the bite itself, it is also smart to know how Zika can be transmitted—outside of being bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus. Mother to unborn child is one of the most common ways the virus is transmitted.
If a pregnant mother has Zika, even if she has not shown any signs, her unborn child will become infected.
Sexual contact is another frequent way of passing the virus. Zika can remain in semen longer than any other body fluid, including blood and urine.
Blood transfusions have spread the virus in several cases in Brazil. While none have been no such case has been reported in the U.S., it is still something to be wary of.
Be safe, travel smart and, most importantly, be on the same page regarding the virus with your partner so the necessary precautions can be taken.
All tips and facts are courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.