This year, the Zika virus has entered the United States, so you may wonder if you should be worried or what steps you can take to protect yourself. All or almost all of the cases so far have been the result of traveling to other areas in the world. Of course, now that it is in the US, it can spread several ways. The chances of contracting the virus are still small, but you can take steps to reduce even your limited chance of getting Zika.
Most cases of this virus are transmitted by mosquitoes, so lowering your exposure to these annoying insects is the best way to stay safe. This step is particularly important for pregnant women because the Zika virus can cause devastating birth defects such as microcephaly, a condition that causes a child to be born with an abnormally small head. The CDC recommends that you wear long sleeve shirts and long pants whenever you are outside. Staying inside when mosquitoes are active is another excellent tip. Surprisingly, mosquitoes that spread Zika are more likely to bite you during the daytime, so limit exposure during the daylight hours. Of course, you want to enjoy the great outdoors during warm weather, so you should take measures to reduce the mosquito population in and outside your home. Consulting with a professional pest control company can help you get rid of most of these creatures, making your home safer from Zika and other mosquito-borne illnesses.
You can also contract Zika through sexual contact. If you are intimate with someone who has been in exposed to the virus, you can develop the condition. Men who have been infected should not have unprotected sex for six months. If a man has traveled to an area where Zika is prevalent, he should use a condom or refrain from sex for eight weeks. If a woman is pregnant, the exposed man should use protection for the rest of the pregnancy. Also, if a couple lives in an area where Zika is an issue, they should use protection or refrain from sex while the virus is active in the area.
The US does not have a Zika epidemic at this point, but the disease has invaded the country. You should take common sense measures to reduce your exposure to mosquitoes and to practice safe sex. As long as you are careful, your chances of contracting Zika are small. To learn more about mosquito control, contact a company like Bug Busters Inc.