Zika virus is similar to that of dengue, yellow fever and West Nile virus. But it can be very dangerous when a woman is bitten by this type of infected mosquito during her pregnancy stage as it can cause certain birth defects and serious complications that include preterm birth, miscarriage, neurologic abnormalities, etc. No vaccines or medicines are yet discovered for treating this dangerous disease. All that you can do is to take precautions to prevent this virus from transmitting into your body. This virus can be transmitted from both infected men and women to their sexual partners through oral, anal as well as vaginal sex.
Precautions Against Zika Virus for Travelers
If you are traveling to an area which has a greater risk of Zika virus you should take precaution before you go to the area, during the trip as well as after you return. Studies have shown that there is lack of proper awareness amongst travelers with regards to prevention of Zika virus transmission, during and after travel.1
Here are some of the important points as a part of precautions against Zika virus for travelers.
Precaution Before Going To The Zika Affected Area
If you ever need to go to the area having a risk of Zika virus then you must take the following belongings with you:
- Long Pant
- Long-Sleeved Shirt
- Insect repellent
Precaution To Be Taken During the Trip
Precautions against Zika virus for travelers mainly includes the preventive measures to be taken during the travel. After reaching the area having the risk of Zika virus, you should take the following precaution to prevent the virus from entering into your body:
- Always wear long sleeves and pants especially during the day times.
- Sleep in a place that is air-conditioned or at least the room should have door and window screens that can prevent the mosquito from entering into your room.
In case you need to sleep outdoors, ensure that you use a bed net.
- You can apply both sunscreen lotion and insect repellent during day times. But in that case first, apply the sunscreen lotion and then use insect repellent over the sunscreen lotion once it is completely dried.
- Since the Zika virus can be transmitted sexually you should always use a condom every time you have sex with your partner.
If you are pregnant or are planning for pregnancy in the next three months of traveling, you need to be more careful. It is ideally recommended that pregnant women should not travel to areas with Zika virus outbreaks, as it can cause serious birth defects.2 But in case it is absolutely necessary to visit that area then you must discuss your traveling plan with the doctor or your health care provider.
Zika Virus Precautions To Be Taken After Returning Home
Precautions against Zika virus for travelers also includes the preventive measures to be taken after the travel. After returning from the Zika outbreak area you should continue the following precautions to stop the spread of the virus to other members of the family:
- You should continue to use insect repellent for at least three weeks after returning from the Zika outbreak area. The use of insect repellent will help you to prevent the spread of Zika to another uninfected mosquito which can spread the virus to the other members of the family.
- Use a condom or do not have sex for at least next two to three months to protect your partner.
- In case your partner is pregnant then it is absolutely necessary to not have sex or use a condom for the rest of the pregnancy.
- In case you observe the symptoms of fever, rash, headache, joint pain, eye redness, muscles pain, etc. then you should immediately consult the doctor and check if you are infected with Zika virus.
Precautions against Zika virus for travelers are very important especially when you need to travel to the Zika outbreak area. Appropriate measures can ensure that the virus does not enter into your body by any means. In case you feel any symptoms, consult a doctor immediately. You may need to do a blood test or urine test to make sure whether you are infected with Zika virus or not. Doctors may prescribe acetaminophen for reducing the fever and muscle pain in such case. But avoid taking aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Since no medicine or vaccine has yet developed to treat this dangerous Zika virus precaution is the only measure that you can take to avoid it.