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FAQs on the Zika Virus, Answered

August 3, 2016
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In part two of our series on the Zika virus, here are some of the top questions people have about the Zika virus.

The media first brought the threat of the Zika virus to our attention last year when cases were confirmed in Rio de Janeiro, home of the 2016 Summer Olympics. Since then, medical staff at urgent care facilities and hospitals have been educating the public on how to protect themselves from the virus.

Whenever a new health threat like this emerges, walk in clinics and emergency rooms are flooded with people who’ve convinced themselves they’ve contracted the disease. Considering that the average emergency room visit costs around $1,500, hypochondriacs would be better off visiting urgent care, where the average walk in clinic bill is just $150.

This summer, proper education on Zika is important. To help you learn the facts on Zika and how to prevent it, here are some commonly asked questions about the virus, answered.

What is the Zika virus?
Zika is a virus that is transmitted by the same mosquito that carries both the dengue and yellow fevers. It was first identified in Uganda in 1974, but outbreaks were contained to Africa until 2007, when it was discovered in the South Pacific. Now, it’s rampant across South America and the Caribbean.

How is the virus transmitted?
Contrary to what you may have heard, it can only infect people through mosquito bites, blood transfusions, and sexual activity. Pregnant women, children, and the elderly are known to be most at risk from the disease.

What are the symptoms of the virus?
Common symptoms of the Zika virus include fever, joint pain, rash, and redness in the whites of the eyes. It must be noted, however, that not everyone who is infected shows these symptoms. In fact, only one in five shows symptoms of the virus, while others do not know they have it at all. Considering Americans catch about a billion colds annually, many people attribute common Zika symptoms to the cold and flu.

How is the virus treated?
As it stands, there is no confirmed vaccine or treatment for the Zika virus. The same way urgent care centers would treat the flu, doctors are using over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol to treat the symptoms.

What’s the good news?
In most cases, the virus does not cause serious complications and typically resolves in about a week.

Will it come to the United States?
In short, probably. With the hot and humid summer we’ve been experiencing, mosquito season is lasting longer than ever before. As a result, it could increase chances of exposure to the Zika virus. In fact, Climate Central reports that ten U.S. cities are experiencing the greatest increase in the length of their mosquito season since the 1980s.

With more than 6,800 urgent care clinics throughout the U.S. and more expected to open soon, there are plenty of resources for more information on the virus. The movement for immediate care may have began in the 1970s, but immediate care centers have now become one of the go-to places for medical help in the country.

If you’re worried about bug-borne illnesses, let Phoenix Urgent Care help educate you and your family on ways to have a happy, healthy summer.