If you stay up to date on the news, chances are you’ve heard of the Zika virus by now. The virus, which could potentially infect up to four million people by the end of the year, has been declared an international public health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO). While it has only recently made headlines in the western world, it was actually discovered back in 1947 in Uganda. It didn’t begin spreading until last spring, when a serious outbreak was discovered in Brazil. Now it has reached the United States, and experts believe it will continue to spread in the coming months.
The Dangers for Unborn Babies: All About the Zika Virus
The Zika virus is related to yellow fever, dengue and West Nile. It’s most commonly spread by mosquitoes but can also be transmitted through blood and other bodily fluids. Symptoms are typically mild and include fever, body pain, headache and rashes.
However, when pregnant women become infected, there is a chance of terrible birth defects. Zika virus has been linked to microcephaly, a condition that causes small, underdeveloped heads and brain damage in newborns. This was noted when doctors began seeing a large number of babies born with the condition during the outbreak in Brazil.
Avoiding the Zika Virus: What You Need to Know
Whether you’re pregnant, planning to become pregnant or just want to avoid getting sick, you might be looking for tips to protect yourself from the Zika virus.
1. Protect Yourself When Outdoors
If you’ll be spending an evening outdoors, it’s a good idea to wear light clothing over the majority of your skin. You can also apply a mosquito repellent with DEET, or an all-natural variety using eucalyptus oil, to further deter the bugs. If pregnant, make sure to discuss the safest pest repellant options with your doctor.
2. Avoid Standing Water
Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water, so you can walk around your property and check for buckets, puddles and other places where water might have gathered. Don’t assume you’re safe if it hasn’t rained recently. Leaking faucets and HVAC systems can sometimes attract mosquitoes too.
If you have ponds, bird baths and other water features, you’ll need to be careful to check for mosquitoes on a regular basis.
3. Contact the Professionals
If you’re not sure how to handle the mosquito situation on your property, it’s best to talk to the pest control professionals. Burns Pest Elimination knows how to handle mosquitoes and can give you tips that are relevant to your individual situation.