If you’ve worried about how to protect your family from the Zika virus then a little information and some preventative measures will put your mind at ease. Zika has been around for quite a while but it’s only recently entered the US. With the right precautions, you can enjoy the outdoors without the constant worry of Zika.
Zika is a virus spread by mosquitos with symptoms similar to dengue and chikungunya. The outbreak in South America brought Zika to the forefront because of the link between Zika and severe birth defects.
Currently, no vaccines or medicines are available to treat Zika. Doctors can treat the symptoms of Zika and patients must wait for the virus to run its course.
What are the Symptoms of Zika?
Zika symptoms might include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes (conjunctivitis), muscle pain, and headache.
Symptoms may last for a few days or a few weeks. However, the virus can stay in the body for a number of months. For this reason, it’s important to get the diagnosis so you know how to prevent spreading the virus to family members.
Be aware that 80% of people who carry Zika don’t display symptoms. Many don’t even know they carry the virus. This causes problems because they don’t know to take proper steps to prevent spreading the virus.
Who is at Risk?
Anyone can get the Zika virus but it has the worst effect on pregnant women. Recently, Zika has been linked to severe brain defects, including microcephaly.
For young children, the medical community doesn’t know the long-term impact of Zika. In the short term, a child may display the symptoms listed above but Zika is not believed to be fatal for young children. Doctors have expressed concern about the potential for issues related to Zika to show up later in life.
How does it spread?
Zika is now in the US and it can spread through:
- Mosquito bites: mosquitos are known to be responsible for new cases of Zika in Florida
- Exposure to the bodily fluids of someone who has Zika
- Pregnancy: pregnant women can transfer the virus to the growing fetus.
Keep up with the latest news
The numbers on the Zika virus are constantly being monitored. Here’s a helpful Zika tracker page that will keep you up to date on where the Zika virus is being reported throughout Florida.
How Can I Keep My Family Safe from Zika at Home?
The best way to keep your family safe from Zika is to keep mosquitos away from your property. This will require some ongoing maintenance.
First, you should know a little about the type of mosquito that carries Zika, the Aedes aegypti. It’s a ‘container breeding’ mosquito that lays eggs in standing water.
To prevent the Aedes aegypti from taking up residence in your home, you’ll want to eliminate standing water. Make sure you empty standing water from:
- Flower pots, vases, and saucers
- Outdoor toys
- Any place that collects water.
Once you’ve taken measures to keep mosquitos from your property, get your family used to the idea of protecting themselves from mosquitoes:
- Wear long sleeves and pants in areas where mosquitos are a problem.
- Use mosquito repellent.
Call in the Professionals.
Living in the Tampa Bay area means there is a greater chance of Zika infected mosquitos — if you have a mosquito issue around your home, call in a pest control company to keep your property safe. They’ll have treatment plans to keep your home free of mosquitoes.
You don’t have to live in fear of Zika if you take the necessary precautions. Your family can still enjoy playing outside knowing you’ve done your part to keep everyone safe.