All Posts tagged zika virus

The Latest in Zika Safety. Stay Protected This Summer.

Pregnant woman, imminent danger to the virus ZikaThere may be less buzz about the Zika virus this summer, but that doesn’t mean that women — especially pregnant women — don’t still need to be extremely cautious and aware of the risks when traveling and spending time outside. Zika, the virus transmitted by mosquitos, sex, and blood transfusions, and which may cause birth defects when passed from mother to fetus, is still a threat to travelers of South and Central America, and in some southern American states.

In addition, there is still no vaccine or medicine to treat Zika, which means the best way to stay safe from the virus is through prevention. All women, but especially those who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, should understand the latest threats, travel safety recommendations, and most importantly, how to stay safe and protected from the threat of contagion this summer.

What We Know About Zika

The type of mosquito that can spread the Zika virus — The Aedes species of mosquito — naturally occurs in many areas across the United States, as well as in Central and South America and other warm climates across the globe. As of May 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that there were at least 50 countries and territories with active Zika virus transmissions.

While it’s been known that Zika can cause the birth defect microcephaly when transmitted from a mother to her fetus, doctors have also found a link between Zika and other types of birth defects. We also now know that Zika does not only put fetuses at risk. The CDC is researching the link between Zika and Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder that may lead to life-threatening paralysis.

Summer Travel Plans? Stay Protected from Zika

If you plan to travel this summer, be aware of both the national and international areas where Zika poses the highest risk. According to the CDC, in the United States, the areas at the highest risk of Zika include Brownsville, Texas, and Miami-Dade County, Florida. In addition, pregnant women should not travel to any countries or areas that have received a Zika-related travel warning.

This map from the CDC summarizes the countries and territories that pose the highest risk. Currently, the CDC has issued Zika-related travel notices for Mexico, the Maldives, parts of the Caribbean, Central and South America, and several of the Pacific Islands.

The Latest CDC Tips for Zika Prevention

As long as the threat of Zika remains high, continue to follow the latest prevention tips and best practices from the CDC:

  • Protect yourself from exposure to mosquito bites by wearing insect repellent during the day and night, wearing long-sleeved shirts, and eliminating any standing water from your property.
  • Especially if pregnant or planning to become pregnant, do not travel to areas with high risks of Zika.
  • Most adults who contract Zika won’t demonstrate symptoms, which is why pregnant women whose partners have traveled to an area with an elevated Zika risk should follow safe sex practices.

For more on the latest from the CDC regarding Zika, click here. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, and have questions or concerns about the risk of Zika in your area, talk to your OBGYN.


Can Pregnant Women Safely Use Insect Repellents?

Pregnant Woman Spraying Mosquito Repellant To Protect Against Zika Virus

Pregnant Woman Spraying Mosquito Repellant To Protect Against Zika Virus

How to Stay Safe from Bugs and Bites this Summer

All eyes are on Rio this summer – both in anticipation of the summer Olympics, and as we hope for a resolution to the recent Zika virus outbreak. The recent virus epidemic has put Americans on high alert of the dangers of mosquitos and mosquito transmitted viruses. While there have been no known instances of mosquito-borne cases of Zika in the United States yet, all Americans, especially women, should protect themselves from the risk of mosquito bites. Before you reach for the bug repellent, understand the safest ways to stay bug bite free this summer.

Are Mosquito Repellents Safe?
Every year, over a million people across the globe die from mosquito-borne illness. Mosquito bites put us at risk for such diseases as West Nile virus, Malaria, Dengue fever, and Encephalitis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the use of insect repellents to safely prevent mosquito-borne diseases. Repellents can be used to prevent bites, skin eruptions, and rashes.

How do Mosquito Repellents Work?
Mosquitos and other blood feeding insects are attracted to the carbon dioxide we release in our breath and to our skin odors. Repellents work at the skin level by masking our sent in a way that makes us unattractive for biting. Repellents do not kill the insects however, so it is still possible to see bugs flying nearby even after repellent spray has been applied. For best results, apply a liberal amount of repellent to exposed skin when you expect to be outside.

Active Ingredients
In most brands of mosquito repellents, the active ingredients include DEET or picaridin. Both of these ingredients are registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use as insect repellents on skin. This means that the EPA has evaluated them for potential side effects and has determined that they are not expected to cause serious adverse effects when used as directed.

Can Pregnant Women Safely use Insect Repellents?
Studies show that mosquitos are more attracted to pregnant women, due to the extra amounts of carbon dioxide they emit while pregnant. Your extra tempting scent means you should be extra careful this summer. The safest way for pregnant women to protect themselves from mosquito bites is still through the application of mosquito repellent. According to the CDC, there are no additional precautions that pregnant women should take when using insect repellents. Both DEET and picaridin have been determined to be safe for pregnant women by the EPA. Stay away from mosquito repellents that include lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 however, as they are not recommended for use during pregnancy.

If you have any questions or concerns talk to your OBGYN. And if you are looking for a top OBGYN practice in Western New York, we are accepting new patients.  Give us a call today.