Should I be worried about Zika? - FOX Carolina 21

Should I be worried about Zika?

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This information is provided and sponsored by Spartanburg Regional Healthcare.

The word Zika has been popping up in the news over the last few weeks, especially with the Olympics starting.

Here’s what Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System wants you to know about Zika:

What is Zika?

Zika is a disease caused by the Zika virus, which is spread to people primarily through the bite of mosquitoes, particularly those found in tropical areas.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms are:

  • fever
  • rash
  • joint pain
  • conjunctivitis (red eyes)

Symptoms typically begin two to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The illness is usually mild, with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. See your Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System healthcare provider if you develop symptoms, and tell them if you have recently traveled. Your healthcare provider may order blood tests to look for Zika or other similar viral diseases like Dengue or Chikungunya.

How is Zika transmitted?

Zika is primarily transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes mosquito. These mosquitoes are most aggressive in the daytime, but also bite at night. Mosquitoes become infected when they bite a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy. Men who were bitten by an infected mosquito can sexually transmit the disease to their partners.

Who is at risk of being infected?

Those at risk include anyone who is living in or traveling to an area where Zika virus is found. Travel notices have been issued for areas in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

How can I protect myself from being infected with Zika?

There is no vaccine to prevent Zika. The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to avoid

being bitten. Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. Here’s how:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents.
  • Use protection if you plan to be sexually active with someone who has traveled to areas where Zika travel notices have been issued.

If you have a baby or child:

  • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age.
  • Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.
  • Cover cribs, strollers, and baby carriers with mosquito netting.

What is the treatment for Zika?

Treat the symptoms:

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Take medicine — such as acetaminophen — to reduce fever and pain.

If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication. If you don’t have a healthcare provider, visit www.MedicalGroupOfTheCarolinas.com.

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