Living in Houston, Texas, mosquitoes are simply a part of our daily lives. Hot and humid one day, rainy and stagnant the next, Houston is a breeding paradise for mosquitoes. The Zika Virus is going to be a massive issue for everyone, but especially in states like Texas, where mosquitoes are able to breed all year round. How are our elected officials planning on preemptively addressing what we all know is going to happen? The Zika virus is already here, and it will eventually be an emergent issue -- it's just a matter of time.
As a nurse, my first and foremost priority is our patients. As nurses, we must advocate for our most vulnerable patients -- our pregnant mothers and their unborn babies. Regardless of where you live, regardless of your profession, share this article and ask your representatives what they are planning to do to help protect women and babies. We have to collectively raise awareness while demanding preemptive action.
- Use EPA-registered mosquito repellents when necessary and follow label directions and precautions closely.
- Tuck shirts into pants and pants into socks to cover gaps in your clothing where mosquitoes can get to your skin.
- Use head nets, long sleeves and long pants if you venture into areas with high mosquito populations, such as salt marshes.
- Stay indoors at sunrise, sunset and early in the evening when mosquitoes are most active, especially if there is a mosquito-borne disease warning in effect.
- Once a person is infected, the incubation period for the virus is approximately 3-12 days. Symptoms of the disease are non-specific but may include fever, rash, arthralgias (joint pain), and conjunctivitis. It appears that only about 1 in 5 infected individuals will exhibit these symptoms and most of these will have mild symptoms.
- Zika during pregnancy has been associated with birth defects, specifically significant microcephaly. Transmission of Zika to the fetus has been documented in all trimesters.
- Currently, there is no vaccine or treatment for this infection.
- Avoiding exposure is best. When traveling to areas where Zika has been reported, take all precautions to avoid mosquito bites including the use of EPA-approved bug spray with DEET, covering exposed skin, staying in air-conditioned or screened-in areas and treating clothing with permethrin.
- Providers should specifically communicate to pregnant women that when used as directed on the product label, EPA-registered insect repellents including those with DEET and permethrin can be used safely during pregnancy.
- These protective measures should be followed both day and night as the Aedes aegyti mosquito (which carries Zika virus) bites primarily during the day as well as at dusk and dawn. Reapplication of insect repellant should be practiced as directed on the product label.
Until my next delivery ♥
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