You all know the Olympics and Paralympics are on their way in August and September. Excited, aren't you? Woohhooooo! :D
Its taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this year. So if any of you or your known really plan to travel to Brazil for the Olympics and the Paralympics... You have to know about the current situation of Zika virus out there. Brazil, along with many surrounding countries of America, are experiencing an Outbreak of Zika Virus.
Zika is a viral infection caused due to bite of an infected mosquito of Aedes family.
-In May 2015, Brazil reported the first outbreak of Zika in the America, spreading to neighboring territories, islands, and Africa and SE Asia.
-On January 22nd, 2016, Centre for Disease Control (CDC) activated its emergency operation centre to respond to the outbreaks of Zika virus in pregnant women, causing life-threatening birth defects like microcephaly and Guillain- Barre Syndrome (GBS) in the newborns.
-On February 1st, 2016 the WHO declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern due to clusters of areas with Zika outbreaks!
People from all over the world are gonna travel to Brazil for the games and sports. If any person gets infected with Zika, and travels back to their home country, the infection will then spread there and it may lead on to more outbreaks. Possibility of the Zika being a pandemic may also arise... That's really a big reason to worry!
So what should be done now?
Zika needs a vector (Aedes mosquito) for its transmission.
- Travellers to Brazil should consult a Doctor 4-6 weeks before travel, and get properly vaccinated.
- CDC recommends pregnant women not to go to Brazil.
How could we prevent mosquitoes from spreading infections??
- Diseases spread by mosquitoes, such as Dengue, Malaria, Zika, and Yellow fever are common throughout Brazil. So get prescription medications and properly vaccinated prior to your journey, from your doctor.
-Once there, use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - registered insect repellant, with one of the following ingredients: DEET, IR3535, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para- menthane diol.
> Always follow the instructions given on product label.
> EPA- registered insect repellants are proven safe for pregnant and breast- feeding women.
> DO NOT use repellants on babies younger than 2 years old.
> Do not apply directly on skin, as it may lead to irritation and redness of skin.
> Treat clothing with permethrin. (Follow instructions first)
- Wear light- colored and full- sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Stay in places with fully air- conditioned rooms and windows and door screens to repel mosquitoes outside.
- Keep yourself hydrated, eat fruits and green veggies, and wear sunscreen.
- Avoid swimming. Schistosomiasis may occur!
- The mosquitoes usually do not live at elevations above 6,500 feet (2,000metres). So people who live at such heights are at low risk of infections. :)
- Even if not feeling sick, travellers returning back to their home country from Brazil and surrounding areas, should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks. This could prevent Zika from passing to others and infecting other people.
- If your lady is pregnant, use condoms either correctly or just do not have sex during the pregnancy.
- Couples with men having Zika or symptoms of Zika should not have sex for at least six months after symptoms begin.
- Couples with men who have been to Zika- prone area but not yet developed symptoms, should not have sex for at least eight weeks after their return in order to minimize risk.
- If you feel sick at any time during or after the trip, immediately consult your doctor, or any health care professional in that area!
Always remember, Prevention is always better than cure. :)