The Zika Virus and Pregnancy……What YOU Need to Know!

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Since we last convened, we’ve learned that mosquitos really do SUCK! This Zika Virus news is all over the place. There are companies such as Mosquito Authority of Greenville and Upstate SC who are there for families in need of protecting those around them, so it may be best to check them out as well as reading down below. I can’t seem to get away from it….I have been inundated with emails, direct messages, and curbside consults; here are my Top 5 Facts You Need To Know About the Zika Virus:

1. The Zika Virus is transmitted via infected mosquitos. There is currently no evidence of person to person transmission(At least this was true until USATODAY reported the first case of sexual transmission in yesterday’s news).

2. Signs of Zika Virus Infection include: rash, fever, joint pain, and red eyes. If you’ve been exposed, the likely time to the onset of symptoms is a few days to a week. The symptoms are usually mild and last for up to seven days. There is no vaccine or “miracle pill”, if you will, to treat this virus. Supportive measures such as getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, and taking Tylenol for fever, aches, and pains is the current recommendation.

3. DON’T TRAVEL TO ZIKA INFECTED AREAS!!!(See the CDC website for the most up to date list of countries) I have had my share of REALLY pissed off women/families of late, specifically pregnant patients ,who were all NONE TOO PLEASED with my recommendation that they postpone their upcoming trip to a Zika infected region……my general comeback to this is, “well, this is Ask Dr. Angela”……..Don’t ask if you REALLY don’t want to know. With the seemingly STRONG association between the Zika virus and microcephaly(babies being born with small heads and underdeveloped brains), Guillan Barre Virus, and generally just NOT knowing that much about the virus……pull an ANTI-JORDAN(as in Michael) and just DON’T DO IT!!!

4. For those of you who decide to travel to Zika infected areas inspite of and just because…… for avoiding mosquito bites include: wearing long sleeves/pants. If you are sleeping outdoors, use netting. Try to stay in places with air conditioning or that have screens in the windows/doors to keep mosquitos out. Use insect repellants approved by the EPA(environmental protection agency) and that have greater amounts of DEET, and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus in them. Examples of such products include: OFF, and Skin So Soft Bug Repellant(remember AVON?)

5. For pregnant women that have recently traveled to a Zika infected area, please let your ob/gyn know. We are NOT routinely testing individuals who exhibit no signs of infection within a week or two of travel. If, however, you do develop any of the aforementioned signs/symptoms(see above), you will be checked for infection(this is performed through laboratory testing). If you are found to be positive, you will likely be referred to a high risk obstetrician(Maternal Fetal Medicine) for serial monitoring of the infant via ultrasound evaluations.

Hoping this blog post adds value to your day! As GI Joe says, “Knowing is half the battle”.

Until Next Time,

Look Better. Feel Better. Be Better.

Dr. Angela


About Dr. Angela

Wife, mother, Midwesterner, and award-winning OB/GYN, Dr. Angela is equal parts best girlfriend and bold professional, supporting women’s health with innovative approaches to care and heavy doses of humor. Dr. Angela has done more than launch a successful practice, she has defined herself as a voice for a new generation of womanhood, established her ASK DR. ANGELA brand committed to authenticity, and built a community rooted in trust, candor, and compassion.

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