Are you prepared for Zika Virus?
Travel is one of life's great pleasures. It does however come with risks particularly when travelling to some of the worlds more exotic locations. National news headlines over the past few weeks have regularly led on the spread of the Zika Virus which has now seen reported active transmission in over 25 countries including Brazil, Mexico, Jamaica and Barbados.
The spread of the Zika virus has been declared a global public health emergency by the World Health Organisation. Typically the virus is not harmful to adults. However, it is the suspected links to Microcephaly in unborn babies, should the mother become infected that are causing such high levels of concern.
The symptoms of Microcephaly include a smaller than average head size from birth which can result in the brain not growing properly. The most serious cases can be fatal and the condition can also cause disabilities and other development delays.
Brazil is the most high profile nation to have confirmed Zika cases and with the Rio Olympics just around the corner there is concern amongst visitors and athletes about what the outbreak may mean for them. As the event draws closer the Brazilian authorities and competition organisers will find themselves under increasing scrutiny to prove they are doing everything they can to host a safe event for everyone involved.
There are 5 simple steps that can be taken to defend yourself from the mosquitos which spread the Zika virus, particularly important if you considering visiting one of the affected countries.
- Do your research - Before you travel confirm whether the Zika virus has been reported in your destination? Knowledge is power!
- Insect Repellent - These will be your immediate line of defence. Use a product with a high DEET content such as Pyramid Trek 100 which contains a 100% DEET formula
- Clothing - Wear light coloured clothing. Mosquitos have an inherent attraction to darker colours
- Standing Water - Stay away from standing water and if you see any in your hotel report it to the staff who can appropriately dispose of it
- Avoid travel if pregnant - Because of links between the Zika virus and microcephaly health officials are advising pregnant women and those trying for a baby not to travel. If you are pregnant and find yourself in a Zika region use a DEET repellent suitable for pregnant women such as Pyramid Repel 55.