The Zika virus seems to have come out of nowhere. It is generally a mild disease; four in five people who become infected with Zika do not show any symptoms.
So, should we be worried at all? If so, what is our best DEFENSE?
Just how much do we know about Zika? Here’s all you need to know about the Zika virus – from the dangers it poses to pregnant women to the steps one can take to minimise risk of exposure.
What is the Zika virus?
Zika virus infection in humans is not new and it has been reported since the 1950s. It is transmitted by the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes (which bite in the daytime), identical to dengue.
A mosquito is infected when it takes a blood meal from a Zika-infected person and later transmits the virus to other people it bites.
What are the symptoms?
Most people infected with the Zika virus do not develop symptoms but could be infectious. Only one in five people develops symptoms, which are usually fairly mild. These usually develop within three (3) to twelve (12) days after the mosquito bite and often last between four (4) to seven (7) days.
Who is at greatest risk?
Unborn babies are the most at risk should their mothers become infected with the Zika virus.
Between 1% and 10% of women infected during pregnancy give birth to babies with defects. The most common defect is microcephaly, where the baby is born with a much smaller head, sloping forehead and damaged brain.
According to a senior infectious diseases consultant, if you have been infected with Zika once, you should have lifetime immunity.
However, it is not advisable to try and get infected deliberately so you have immunity when you want to start a family. We may not know enough about Zika to undertake such risk.
Zika and Pregnancy
According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), there is currently no evidence that pregnant woman is a higher risk of infected by Zika.
However, the consequences can be serious if a pregnant woman is infected as her unborn child may get birth defect with an abnormally much smaller head, sloping forehead and damaged brain.
According to experts, the risk is highest during the first trimester and the early part of the second trimester of pregnancy.
Though the risk is lower in the third trimester, the virus could still cause fatal outcomes such as stillbirth.
Is there a cure?
Not at the moment. There is no known cure nor vaccine. Only the symptoms can be treated.
So, what’s our best DEFENSE?
Looking at how things are, our best defense is PREVENTION!
We have put together some useful tricks and techniques you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones. Best of all, all are natural and chemical-free ways!
Prevent the breeding of Aedes mosquitoes
- Frequently check and remove stagnant water from every possible areas in your homes, e.g., pole holders, roof gutters, water storage containers, vases and bowls, and flower / plant pots.
- DIY your own natural mozzies control solution for the pole holders, roof gutters, drains and even outdoor / indoor plants.
Review your travel plans
- Postpone non-essential travel to areas with ongoing outbreaks, especially for pregnant woman.
- Reconsider your travel plans to areas that are not experiencing outbreaks but have reported local transmission of Zika virus.
- If you must travel to affected areas, you should undertake strict precautions to avoid getting infected.
Avoid getting infected
- Wear clothing that covers the body, arms and legs.
- Sleep under mosquito nets or in rooms with wire-mesh screens to keep out mosquitoes.
- DIY your own natural mosquitoes repellent to keep out the mosquitoes.
- Diffuse essential oils in your living room and bedrooms to keep mosquitoes away the natural & chemical-free manner.
Last but not least, share this article with your loved ones!
- Now that you’ve learnt the tips and tricks to take care of yourself, please pass this on to the ones you love and care about, so that they could also do the same for themselves.
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