Zika virus and your pregnancy

Zika’s a mosquito-borne virus that, with good reason, has gained a lot of traction in the media in the last few years. Pregnant women should be extra careful as it’s been proven that the Zika virus can cause birth defects, such as microcephaly, in their babies. Microcephaly’s a birth defect in which a baby’s head and brain are smaller. As such, the brain may not be fully developed. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that even if a baby doesn’t show signs of microcephaly at birth, she is at risk for developing it later on.

The first big outbreaks of the Zika virus remounts to May 2015 in Brazil. Since that time, it’s reached South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, Africa and the US. What’s dangerous about the Zika virus is that most people don’t actually show symptoms right-away. Some of the symptoms listed include a rash, fever, joint-pain, pinkeye, muscle-pain, headache and vomiting.

First of all, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid traveling to places where the virus is most present. If you live there, below are a few security measures you can follow to ensure your and your baby’s safety:
• Using an insect repellent containing DEET. As the Mayo Clinic states, the benefits of potentially avoiding this disease clearly outweigh the risks of whatever small amount of DEET reaches your bloodstream.
• Avoid leaving your house during “peak” mosquito hours (dawn to dusk).
• If you’re going to be outdoors for a while, wear long sleeves, pants and socks (better safe than sorry).
• Sleep in screened-in rooms, with closed windows and/or air-conditioning.
Right now, there’s still no cure for the Zika virus. Be on the lookout for any of the symptoms described above, and if at any time you suspect you may be infected reach out to your doctor immediately to stay on the safe side of your pregnancy and baby’s development.

There will always be factors that we can’t control and which may be a risk. The important thing during your pregnancy is to be aware and cautious and always look after your baby’s safety and well-being. You can reach out to your doctor if you’re worried about this virus and need more information on how to avoid exposure.

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