As a nurse, you likely receive numerous unsolicited health queries on a regular basis. Since the CDC confirmed that Zika causes microcephaly, there’s a good chance that many of your patients have questions about this illness and their susceptibility.
While Zika isn’t known to be dangerous to healthy adults, it does have potentially profound consequences for pregnant women and their babies. Along with microcephaly, Zika can lead to Guillain-Barre syndrome and other abnormalities in brain development.
As a nurse, it’s your job to ease patients’ fears while providing them with the education needed to stay safe. Here are some tips on keeping yourself – and your patients – safe from Zika as the summer season ramps up.
Take Preventative Measures
Nurses should do their homework on Zika and advise their patients to do the same before traveling to specific areas. According to the CDC, it’s a good idea for individuals to wear sunscreen and insect repellant when they plan to be outside for long periods of time. Additionally, they should consider donning long-sleeved tops and long pants to minimize risk. These precautions are particularly important for pregnant women and those who might be breastfeeding.
Know Your Risk
Understanding how the Zika virus is generally transmitted is crucial to staying safe. Research shows that Zika spreads by Aedes mosquitos in warm areas, such as Central and South America and the Caribbean. Additionally, there is evidence that exchanging bodily fluids like saliva can transmit the virus.
Seek Medical Attention
Nurse should advise people who think they might have contracted Zika – or encountered someone with the virus – to seek immediate medical attention. Women who are pregnant and show evidence of Zika will need regular monitoring to evaluate fetal growth.
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