The World Health Organization announced that the Zika virus is “spreading explosively” and on Feb. 1, declared an international public health emergency. The Zika virus is mosquito-borne virus that transmits to people through mosquito bites.
More than 24 countries, including many in South and Central America, and the Caribbean are currently affected by the Zika virus, and the largest outbreak is currently in Brazil. More than 1 million people been infected with the virus and the number is quickly growing.
Here are 3 things you must know for the Brazilian Carnival on February 5 to 10th:
- Who is at risk?
The Zika virus poses a significant risk to pregnant women and has been strongly linked to microcephaly, a neurological disorder that leads to abnormal fetal development and brain damage and babies born with undersized skulls and brains. For those that are not pregnant, the most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis, muscle pain and headache. The symptoms usually begin 2 days after infection through a mosquito bite and usually last about a week.
- Prevent Mosquito Bites
Currently, there is no vaccine available for the virus. Thus, the best way to prevent Zika virus infection is by avoiding mosquito bites. The mosquitos that spread Zika virus normally bite during the daytime.
CDC’s Recommendations on Avoiding Mosquito Bites
- Wear clothing that covers your skin
- Stay in places with air conditioning, or use screened windows and doors to keep mosquitos out
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net
- Use insect repellants as directed
How to Use Repellants Effectively
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – registered insect repellants
- Always follow product label instructions
- Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing
- If using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent
- Re-apply insect repellent as directed
- Medisafe For Mosquito Repellent Application Reminders
Use Medisafe to set reminders for mosquito repellent reapplication and to receive travel advisory information and more pertaining to the Zika virus outbreak. Since sweat, water and exposure can quickly remove repellent from the skin, it is important to properly re-apply as instructed.
Follow these simple steps for Medisafe reminders:
- Add a repellent
- Set a reminder to re-apply (as instructed on product label)
If you have recently traveled to an area with Zika virus and are pregnant, seek medical care if you feel symptoms related to Zika virus, including mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain and headaches.
Enjoy the Carnival and stay safe!