With ongoing reports of the Zika virus epidemic, US citizens are concerned about its spread within our borders. Misinformation and unfounded worry surround the virus. People need proper information about Zika to increase their awareness and begin taking the appropriate precautions.
Who Is at Risk?
Pregnant women are at the highest risk when it comes to the Zika virus, since it can infect the fetus during pregnancy and result in microcephaly. This condition results in underdeveloped brains and the small head size associated with it. Children with microcephaly may experience developmental delays, difficulties with coordination, facial distortions, dwarfism, or other more-serious effects, including intellectual developmental disability and seizures.
People who aren’t pregnant who come down with the Zika virus probably will experience very slight symptoms, often imperceptible or easily confused with common illnesses. Most Zika cases result in fever, headache, or rash. However, in Brazil, officials recently linked Zika to Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which sometimes causes permanent paralysis.
How Do I Protect Myself?
While health officials don’t predict Zika to be as devastating in the United States as it has been in Brazil, it’s still important to prepare yourself for the possibility of the virus reaching the country. Increasing education about how Zika spreads and how to avoid it is important to promote smart safety and prevent panic.
Government health care officials originally said that the best way to prevent birth defects from Zika is to avoid getting pregnant during mosquito season, but now U.S. health experts are debating this advice. Experts do advise that you take a Zika test if you’ve recently visited Latin America or the Caribbean, or if you have fever or rash.
ALISON, a global free learning industry leader, is training medical personnel and citizens to understand the actual risks of the Zika virus. You can take the free course to better understand the virus and have a better chance of staying protected this summer.