BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ!!! What’s all the ‘buzz’ about? Zika virus! I know that Zika sounds big and scary, but don’t run away just yet! We’re about to break down all of the confusion. What is this mystery virus? Zika is a mild virus spread by mosquitoes. That’s right. I said ‘mild.’ IF Zika causes symptoms in adults, they usually go away after about a week.
Most symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, red eyes, muscle pain, and headache. It’s not typically dangerous for adults, but it can be passed from pregnant mothers to fetuses. This is when Zika becomes a problem. In infants, the virus can cause microcephaly, aka ‘small head syndrome.’ There is no cure or treatment for microcephaly, so once a baby gets it, they’ve got it (and everything it causes) for life. Why is it such a problem for babies to have abnormally small heads? While the baby is in the mother’s womb, it grows. If one certain part of the body develops more slowly, or doesn’t develop as much as the rest of the body, it can cause problems in that particular part of the body. This is no different for the head. Microcephaly can restrict the room the brain has to grow into, therefore making the brain smaller and stunting its’ development.
How do we prevent Zika? There are no vaccinations or medicinal preventions for Zika virus. The best prevention we have is to protect our families and ourselves. Insect repellent is your best line of defense, and the Center for Disease Control also recommends wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants. If you’re outdoorsy and you embrace the warm weather by sleeping outdoors, make sure you sleep under a mosquito net to keep the offensive insects off of you while you’re asleep. Also, listen up fellas; Zika is classified as a Sexually Transmitted Infection, but ONLY from men to their partners. So go ahead and invest in some protection for that area of your life as well.
If you thought the symptoms of Zika in adults sound familiar, you’re exactly right. They’re eerily similar to another pesky annual pest: the Flu. If you’re thinking that you and your kiddos can hop on down and get your FluMist nasal spray vaccination and be good to go, I hate to tell you this, but that doesn’t seem to be an option this year. Studies have shown that FluMist was never really effective, and the Center for Disease Control says it’s so ineffective it shouldn’t be used for the 2016-2017 Flu season. During the 2013-2014 Flu season, the FluMist vaccine showed no effectiveness against H1N1 in young children. So what happened to make this highly touted method of fighting the Flu to suddenly be so ineffective? Nobody knows. The scientists involved have to look at every strain of the Flu and decide what they think the winner for that year will be. That being said, FluMist has still been the poorest performer in fighting the Flu for the past several seasons. So when you decide it’s time to revaccinate, make sure you get the real deal and stay protected!
Whether you want to prevent the Flu or you think you might have Zika, ProHealth is here and ready to do your vaccinations and/or testing. For people other than pregnant mothers, Zika testing will require information about recent travel and a blood or urine test. If you want your Flu vaccination or if you think you need to be tested for Zika virus, even if you’re pregnant, just visit our website or give us a call to set up an appointment, or come on in to one of our locations!
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For more information about the flu and flu vaccinations check out our website. For more information about Zika virus ceck out the CDC website.