Ever heard of the Zika virus? If not, read this foolproof guide to stay safe

Zika virus is in the news these days, and while there is more research being done on how to prevent its spread, it’s important to learn everything about it here.

zika virus
Stay cautious to prevent Zika virus. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Anita Mathew Published on: 11 August 2021, 08:00 am IST
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Amid the growing threat of the third wave of covid-19, Maharashtra discovered its first Zika virus case, raising a caution on the kind of precaution needed to be taken in the coming days. Although the state health department has decided to conduct a door-to-door survey in the district in which the case was found, it seeks help from the community, in order to be vigilant and contain the spread of the Zika virus. The state health department also reports that cases of chikungunya and dengue are also on the rise.

Here’s what you should know about Zika virus

The vector through which Zika gets transmitted is like that of dengue and chikungunya. Its symptoms are also similar to them. In the majority of cases, the disease is self-limiting. Therefore, the only treatment required is symptomatic. Zika can cause complications in pregnant women. The infection can cause microcephaly (a brain disability) or other conditions called congenital zika syndrome.

Also, read: Don’t fret over post-Covid hair loss! Celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar gives easy tips

The virus easily transmits from a pregnant woman to her fetus. It can also spread through sexual contact, transfusion of blood and blood products, and organ transplantation. Now, it is important that people identify Zika symptoms from other vector-borne diseases and covid-19.

Symptoms to watch out for:
  • Mild to high fever
  • Conjunctivitis 
  • Skin  Rashes/Allergies
  • Headaches
  • Muscle and joint pain 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Sometimes atypical weakness of upper and lower limbs
Here are some tips one can follow

It is important to note that there is no cause for worry, if you take the necessary precautions. However, if you observe any changes in your body, especially the symptoms mentioned above, immediately consult your doctor. Don’t forget that any delay can cause undesired complications. Also, do not indulge in self-medication. Take these precautionary measures to stay protected and safe.

zika virus
In most cases, there are no symptoms of the zika virus. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Do’s and don’ts

People detected with the virus are requested to stay indoors, take as much rest as possible and drink plenty of fluids. Pregnant women should refrain from traveling, mainly to infected areas. No specific treatment is required, normally it is a self-limiting condition.

Since there is no treatment or vaccine available, reducing the risk of being bitten by a mosquito is the only option. Since the mosquito bites mostly during the daytime, making sure living areas are clean and no stagnant water is seen, emptying pots and buckets is important, as mosquitoes lay their eggs in such water. 

  • Wear full-sleeved clothes
  • Ensure doors and windows are closed
  • Apply mosquito/ insect repellents
  • Drink only boiled water
  • Consume fresh homemade food
  • Avoid using aspirin to treat fever
  • Visit your doctor, if symptoms persist
  • Make sure your home is well ventilated
  • Avoid touching your nose and mouth with your hand, especially if your hands are not washed
  • Avoid visiting crowded places to reduce your risk of viral infections

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About the Author
Dr Anita Mathew Dr Anita Mathew

Dr Anita Mathew, Infectious Disease Specialist, Fortis Hospital Mulund

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