If you are planning on getting pregnant in the near future, it’s important to know how to protect you and your baby from the Zika virus. The Zika virus is typically spread through the bite of an infected mosquito and can cause minor symptoms. However, the real concern arises when a woman who is pregnant contracts Zika and passes the virus to her fetus during pregnancy or delivery.
Zika and infants
Studies have shown an increase in babies born with microcephaly in Brazil, an area with the heaviest reported outbreaks of the Zika virus, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Microcephaly is a lifelong condition where a baby’s head is much smaller than expected. This is caused by an undeveloped brain during pregnancy. Microcephaly can cause other birth defects, like seizures, developmental delay, and hearing loss. Other common symptoms of babies infected with Zika include eye defects, hearing loss, feeding problems, and impaired growth.
How to protect yourself from Zika during pregnancy
Here are some tips from Dallas County Health and Human Services:
- Postpone travel or completely avoid areas of concentrated outbreaks.
- Avoid sexual contact or use a condom with your partner if that person has traveled to areas where Zika is present.
- Mosquito larvae are typically found in small pools of shallow standing water. Be sure to drain standing water around your home.
- When outdoors, protect yourself with bug spray that contains DEET or other EPA-registered insect repellents.
- Limit outdoor activities during dusk and dawn hours, when mosquitoes are most active.
Areas where Zika can be found
- Southeast Asia
- Pacific Islands
It is important to everyone at Walnut Hill to keep outpatients as informed as possible about potential dangers and illness during pregnancy. For more information about the Zika virus or if you feel like you need to be tested, please give us a call 214-739-8511 to set up an appointment.