The Zika virus has been raising concerns in an increasing number of countries around the world. Since the virus is relatively new, more information is being gathered about how it is caused and transmitted, and specialized care for it is limited. Santiam Hospital, in the Mid-Willamette Valley of Oregon, helps patients understand the potential harm and educates them on ways they can avoid contracting the Zika virus.
The team at this primary care clinic outlines three preventative care methods you can take against the Zika virus:
- Protection From Travel: For the most part, avoiding travel to any areas that are known to be affected by the Zika virus is the most vigilant form of preventative care. This is especially true if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant soon. Check news updates or consult your primary care clinic regularly for the latest on which areas around the world have new Zika cases. However, if you must travel to a Zika-affected area, take preventative care measures against mosquito bites.
- Protection From Mosquitoes: If you are in an area that has or is at risk of being affected by the Zika virus, follow specific steps to avoid mosquito bites, as mosquitoes are the prime culprits of spreading it. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and always apply insect repellant that contains high levels of preventative ingredients referred to as DEET. Use netting when you sleep. After you return from a Zika-affected area, continue preventative care measures for at least three weeks to lower the risk of spreading the virus to others.
- Protection From Sexual Transmission: Even if someone isn’t showing symptoms of Zika, the virus is easily transmitted through sexual contact of any kind. Do not engage in unprotected sex. Men who suspect they have symptoms of Zika should not have unprotected sex for at least six months, while women should wait at least eight weeks. The surest way of not transmitting the virus through sex is by abstaining entirely. If you think you are at risk of being infected, speak with your doctor at your primary care clinic to plan next steps.
For more information on specialized care for the Zika virus and for additional preventative care advice, contact Santiam Hospital. Call (503) 769-2175 to schedule an appointment or visit the website to see a full list of their services and locations.