Ever since Brazil’s Zika epidemic started making headlines last year, world leaders have been nervously awaiting its impact on the Olympics this summer. If you’ll be attending the Games, be prepared and arm yourself with this essential guide:
What is Zika?
Zika’s a virus spread by mosquitoes, and Brazil is at the center of the international epidemic. Zika can be fatal, and even if you never experience symptoms, you can pass on the virus to family or friends.
• Zika can cause birth defects like microcephaly due to abnormal fetal brain development.
• Zika can cause Guillain–Barré Syndrome, a serious nervous system disease.
• In people with weak immune systems, Zika can cause death.
How Is Zika Transmitted?
• Mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus.
• Sexual transmission and contact with bodily fluids.
• Blood transfusions, tattoos, piercings, injected drugs.
How To Prevent Infection:
• Treat clothing with permethrin.
• Wear long sleeves and pants to cover your limbs.
• Apply insect repellent with DEET.
• Use mosquito nets around beds.
• Stay in air-conditioned buildings.
• Don’t allow water to collect in outside containers.
How To Avoid Transmission to Others:
• Use condoms during sexual intercourse.
• Don’t donate blood for at least 6 months after your trip.
• Clean and bandage any scrapes, cuts, and sores.
• Avoid mosquito bites to prevent virus from spreading.
Possible Symptoms if You’re Infected:
Mild fever of 98.7+°F (37+°C), pink eye, rash, muscle/joint pain, headache, upset stomach.
What to Do If You Become Infected:
Men and Non-Pregnant Women: Consult a doctor. Drink plenty of water and get lots of rest. Take pain-relievers (aspirin, ibuprofen) for aches and pains.
Pregnant women: Consult a doctor immediately. Tests may include blood and urine tests and/or a fetal ultrasound.