Zika Awareness

What is the Zika Virus?

The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus that is related to yellow fever, dengue, West Nile, and Japanese encephalitis viruses. It is spread by the Aedes species mosquito, which can bite in both the day and the night, though it is more present in the daytime. The infection has very mild to no symptoms at all, with no specific treatment. There are also no vaccines or medications to prevent anyone from getting the virus – making this ailment a serious threat to public health all around the world.

One thing about the virus that is quite different than other mosquito-borne viruses is that the Zika virus affects the fetus of a pregnant woman. This can result in the baby being born with a severe brain malformation called microcephaly, as well as other potential birth defects. People infected with Zika can pass on the virus through sexual intercourse. This can occur before symptoms manifest themselves. The use of a condom can help prevent the spread of Zika through sex.

The History of Zika

Scientists first discovered the Zika virus from an infected rhesus macaque monkey that came from the Zika Forest in Uganda in 1947. Nine months later, a second case was discovered from the same location. In 1952, it was known that numerous people throughout Uganda, Nigeria, and India had the antibodies to Zika, which suggested that it had been spreading through the human population for quite a long time. Between 1951 and 1983, there was evidence that the virus had spread to other countries throughout Africa, including Egypt, Sierra Leone, Gabon, and Tanzania. It had also spread beyond Africa to countries in Asia, including India, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Vietnam. Still, as of 2007, there were only 12 confirmed cases of Zika throughout the world.

The first outbreak of Zika to be found was in April 2007 on the Micronesia island of Yap. The virus was characterized by rash, joint pain, and pink eye, which led doctors to believe that it may be dengue, chikungunya, or Ross River disease. Epidemics of Zika also occurred in other Oceania islands between 2013 and 2014. Since then, a widespread outbreak of the virus started to appear in the Americas. The first outbreak was in 2015 in Brazil, which then spread to the rest of the Americas, including the Caribbean. The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that by the end of 2016 the virus will be spread throughout most of the Americas, including the USA.

Symptoms of the Zika Virus

Some people that get infected do not have any symptoms at all, which can be quite dangerous. Others have mild symptoms like fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. Muscle pain and headaches can also occur. Symptoms of Zika can last a few days or a week, though, again, some people have no symptoms at all.

Zika Prevention

There is currently no treatment, vaccine, or medication to prevent or cure people who have the Zika virus. Labs are trying to develop some sort of vaccination, but until this happens it is very important for people to protect themselves from getting the virus.

Much like HIV, the best way to prevent getting the virus from someone already infected is to not get exposed to their blood or body fluids. Still, the most common route of infection is through a mosquito bite, so being protected against mosquito bites is a must, no matter where in the country you may live. Cases of Zika have been reported all over Central and South America, the Caribbean, and the USA, as well as throughout the Pacific Islands. This means that people also need to be very careful when traveling within any of these regions. Anyone going on a vacation to any of these regions needs to take precautions to prevent getting the Zika virus.

Protecting against mosquito bites is crucial in the prevention of the Zika virus. The best way to do this is by wearing insect repellent at all times, especially in the daytime when the Aedes species is most rampant. Those that like a bit of sun can apply mosquito repellant on top of sunscreen. Wearing long clothes, like long-sleeved shirts and long pants, will also help. It is also important to keep homes mosquito-free by having screens on all windows and doors. Air-conditioning also helps, as does sleeping under a mosquito net if in a place where the windows and doors are not screened.

Insect Repellent

This is, of course, the best way to be protected against a mosquito bite or being infected with the Zika virus. There are all sorts of repellants on the market, including sprays, creams, and sticks. Many of these contain DEET, which, although it works, can be quite bad with long-term use. DEET is a toxic chemical that is bad for the environment and human skin. Insect repellents that contain more than 30% DEET have been banned in many countries, including Canada and the USA.

Icaridin, which is also known as picaridin and KBR 3023, is a colorless and odorless insect repellant that was developed by Bayer. It is as effective as DEET, but with fewer toxic chemicals. IR3535 is an insect repellant that contains amino acids, and, although it is not toxic, it is a biochemical substance.

Oil of lemon eucalyptus is a natural insect repellant that is often used to prevent mosquito bites. The derivatives of it are also often synthetically made due to its popularity, with many people choosing this as opposed to DEET. It has been proven to be just as effective as DEET in the prevention of mosquito bites and is commonly found in organic or natural insect repellents, such as Dr. Fedorenko’s True Organic Bug Stick™.

You can trust that Dr. Fedorenko’s True Organic Bug Stick™ is petroleum-free, preservative-free, cruelty-free, and proven to work. It is also USDA Certified Organic and made completely in the USA. This repellent is made from natural ingredients, including lemongrass oil, citronella oil, rosemary oil, peppermint oil, and Lemon Eucalyptus oil, amongst many others. The best thing is that it can be used as a moisturizer and an insect repellent. It is great for all skin types, even the sensitive skin of children. Plus, it is easy to use. It comes in a stick, which is then rubbed differently onto the skin. Bug Stick not only prevents bites from mosquitoes, but also from ticks, horseflies, and gnats.

Any insect repellant will keep mosquitos away and help prevent the infection of the Zika virus. People are free to choose whichever one they feel is best. Still, it is always better to use something natural and organic than something that contains toxic chemicals. There are so many toxins in the environment and in everyday products. People that avoid these items can also do the same when choosing an insect repellent, which is fantastic news!