Mosquitoes of the Aedes genus are the primary cause of the Zika virus infection. The virus was first discovered in Africa in the mid-20th century and has spread all over the world. Symptoms include fever, muscle and joint pain, conjunctivitis, skin rashes, and fatigue. Although it may be physically discomforting, it is not particularly severe in adults. It may pose a threat to newborn babies who acquire it from their mother in the womb. So far, no vaccine has been developed.
No antiviral medications for the Zika virus exist, and there is no cure, so it must run its course. Doctors rely on the body's natural immune system to eliminate the virus. Symptoms can be relieved by medications, such as acetaminophen, which can bring down fevers and reduce aches and pains. Health care providers advise patients to avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen, unless dengue, a disease caused by mosquitoes, has been ruled out.
One typical side effect of most viral infections is the loss of fluid, which leads to dehydration. Doctors recommend drinking plenty of electrolyte-rich fluids, such as coconut water, fresh fruit juices, and rehydration beverages. Avoid drinks with caffeine, such as tea and coffee, which are known to have a dehydrating effect on the body.
During the course of the infection, the body's immunity is working overtime, and it requires energy and nutrients to fight attacking microbes. A lack of nutrients can exacerbate symptoms, such as pain, weakness, and fatigue. Therefore, eating a healthy, nutritious diet is imperative.
Zika virus infections take a toll on energy levels while causing bodily discomforts, such as aches and pains. To prevent the aggravation of these symptoms, resting is vital. Avoid strenuous activities, such as vigorous exercise. Since the Zika virus is transferable through sexual contact, sexual activity is also discouraged.
Some people develop conjunctivitis during the course of a Zika virus infection. Though this condition tends to self-heal in a couple of days, some people find the redness, burning, itching, and watering of their eye(s) extremely uncomfortable. To obtain relief from these symptoms, use eye drops three to six times daily as directed. If symptoms last for more than three days or the eyes become painful or sensitive to light, see a health care professional right away. To prevent the transmission of conjunctivitis, individuals should wash their hands and avoid touching others as much as possible and should not share food, towels, or other items while the virus is active. However, Zika conjunctivitis is usually not contagious after the symptoms have been present for more than a few days.
For those who contract a Zika virus infection and have extreme muscular and joint pain, supportive gear may help provide relief. Wearing joint braces or orthotic shoes or using crepe bandages could be helpful. If the pains get too intense, contact your doctor.
Since the Zika virus must run its course, it is important to support the immune system as best you can. Strengthening the immune system includes:
Although the body feels weakened by the virus, the immune system is fighting 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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