How to Prevent Zika Virus Naturally (Must Read!)

How to Prevent Zika Virus Naturally - If you’ve heard about the Zika virus and are wondering what it is, you’re not alone. Cases of this emerging infectious disease are soaring in the Americas and "spreading explosively," according to World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan, MD. Many U.S. states are reporting cases of travelers bringing the infection back with them. Although usually spread by mosquitoes, Zika can also be transmitted through sex. One case of sexual transmission was confirmed in Texas in early February, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently investigating 14 additional reports of possible sexual transmission of the virus.

Mosquitoes spread Zika virus
Mosquitoes spread Zika virus

For most people, the Zika virus causes only a brief, mild flu-like illness. But in pregnant women it has been linked to an alarming increase in the rate of the birth defect known as microcephaly — a debilitatingly small head and brain size. The clusters of birth defects linked to the Zika virus are an international public health emergency, according to the WHO. Dr. Chan characterizes the situation as an "extraordinary event and a public health threat to other parts of the world."

The CDC posted a travel alert advising pregnant women to delay travel to areas where Zika is active. The travel alert list continues to expand and now includes 34 countries or territories, most of them in the Americas. The CDC's newest guidelines recommend that pregnant women coming back from these areas get tested for Zika. Two pregnant women in Illinois tested positive for the virus after recent travel, reports the Illinois Department of Public Health, as well as three pregnant women in Florida. In addition, the CDC advises men who have a pregnant partner to use condoms if they live in or travel to areas with Zika infection.

A baby born with microcephaly in Oahu, Hawaii, had been infected with Zika, according to a press release from the Hawaii Department of Health. The child's mother had previously lived in Brazil — a Zika hot zone with up to 1.3 million cases of infection. More U.S cases among pregnant travelers are under investigation by the CDC.

With the 2016 summer Olympic Games coming up in Rio de Janeiro, public health experts are worried that the virus may spread far beyond Latin America. The World Health Organization expects Zika to spread to all but two countries in the Americas: Canada and Chile. Athletes who are concerned about Zika should consider skipping the games, the U.S. Olympic Committee now says. Given the possible link to birth defects, preventing the spread of Zika is critical, especially for women in their childbearing years. There are how to prevent Zika Virus naturally that you should know:

4 Easy Steps to Prevent Zika Virus

1. Wear long sleeved shirts and pants

Because there is no vaccine to prevent Zika, the "best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to avoid being bitten," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wrote on its site. In areas with active Zika cases, you can lower your risk of infection by layering up and giving mosquitoes fewer chances to come into contact with your skin.

"Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites," the CDC states. "Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants." If you have a child, dress your offspring in long sleeved clothing that covers a lot of their skin. Also be sure to cover your crib, stroller, or baby carrier with mosquito netting, the CDC states.

2. Use Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellents

The CDC recommends using EPA-registered insect repellents and following these simple directions:

        - Follow the product label instructions.
        - Reapply insect repellent as directed by the repellent.
        - Avoid spraying repellent on the skin under clothing.
        - Apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent if you're using both

The virus can be can also be "readily controlled through effective mosquito control procedures, such as destroying the infected insects and larvae, or insecticide use," as reported by the Guardian.
The CDC recommends not using insect repellent on babies younger than two months old. It's also crucial to avoid applying insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, cut, or irritated skin.

3. Treat clothes and materials with permethrin or buy permethrin-treated items

Permethrin is widely used as an insect repellent and is on the WHO's List of Essential Medicines. The CDC recommends treating your clothes with permethrin as a Zika prevention method. "If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully," the CDC states. "Do NOT use permethrin products directly on skin. They are intended to treat clothing." Permethrin products are available for purchase on Amazon, at REI, and at Walgreens, among other stores.

4. If you're pregnant, avoid regions where Zika is active

The CDC is advising pregnant women to stay away from the 22 countries that have experienced Zika outbreaks. Experts have warned that the Zika virus may cause children to have microcephaly, a rare condition that is categorized by an abnormally small head. The CDC has also advised women who are considering becoming pregnant to visit a doctor before going to active Zika regions, according to The New York Times.

"Pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing," the CDC states. "Pregnant women who do travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor or other healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip." The CDC adds that it's safe to use an EPA-registered insect repellent if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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