Attention pregnant moms! Let’s talk about the famous Zika virus. This disease transmitted by mosquitoes was in the media spotlight a while back, causing a bit of panic because it can have serious implications for pregnant women. But let’s not panic, with some precautions, you can make sure you and your baby are safe and you can enjoy a peaceful pregnancy.
Most people infected with Zika virus do not develop symptoms, but those who do typically have symptoms including rash, fever, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise and headache that last for 2–7 days.
The fact that symptoms take a while to develop, or do not appear at all can be particularly dangerous. Pregnant women need to be especially careful, as it has been proven that Zika can cause birth defects, such as microcephaly. But prevention can make all the difference! If possible, avoid traveling to places where the virus is actively present. If you are already in one of those places, don’t fret, here are some measures to keep yourself safe and protect your baby:
- Use insect repellent with DEET, the benefits outweigh any concerns.
- Whenever you can, avoid going out during mosquito peak hours. Mosquitoes that transmit Zika are mostly active during the day.
- If you venture outside during those hours, cover your arms and legs with clothing.
- While sleeping, make sure the windows have mosquito nets and keep them closed. If you have air conditioning, use it instead of leaving windows open.
For now, there’s no vaccine or specific treatment for Zika, but don’t worry, staying alert is the key! If you experience any symptoms like rashes, fever, joint pain, conjunctivitis, muscle pain, headaches, or if you’re worried about being exposed to contracting this virus, talk to your doctor right away, they will give you all the information you need and help you stay calm.
We know it can be stressful to think about risks beyond your control, but remember, the important thing is to take all the possible cautionary measures to care for yourself and your baby. You will be fine!