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The Top 4 Myths About the Zika Virus, Debunked

August 1, 2016
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If you have been keeping up with the news, you are well aware of the threat the Zika virus has on many areas this summer. With 6,800 urgent care clinics and medical centers all over the U.S. warning people of its dangers, the truth can sometimes get distorted.

And since emergency rooms and urgent care facilities see 110 million and 3 million patients respectively each year, unnecessary panic over the Zika virus can waste important healthcare resources. To help debunk some of the myths you may have heard about Zika, here are the top four lies, half-truths, and rumors that urgent care clinics don’t want you to believe.

Myth 1: You Can Catch the Zika Virus From Water
Contrary to what many people have heard, the virus can only be transmitted through mosquito bites, sex, blood transfusions, and laboratory exposure. For this reason, it is highly recommended that men and their pregnant spouses who have traveled to areas known for Zika transmission continue to use condoms during sex.

Myth 2: The Zika Virus Cannot Harm Your Baby
While its direct effects are not yet fully understood, researchers have agreed that the virus causes microcephaly and other birth defects. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnant women, no matter the trimester, should refrain from traveling to locations where the virus is known to be present. If they must travel to these areas, it is crucial that they first consult their physician prior to their visit. Even if you plan on becoming pregnant in the near future, avoid travel to certain countries.

Myth 3: Zika Cannot Be Prevented
We might not have a vaccine for the Zika virus, yet, but there are ways this disease can be prevented. The methods include:

  • Primary Prevention: Use a repellent to reduce exposure to mosquitoes.
  • Watch Out for Stagnant Water: Remove stagnant water or empty containers where water can be collected around residences. These areas become breeding spots for swarms of mosquitoes during the summer.
  • Myth 4: Treatment Can Cure the Zika Virus
    Like the flu, there is no treatment for the Zika virus right now. People who are infected are receiving supportive therapy including rest, fluid hydration, and simple medications like Tylenol. Due to the rapid increase in infections, scientists are working hard to create a vaccine for the virus.

Now that you know the truth about the virus and how it can be spread, you are in a better position to protect yourself and your family this summer. If you think you may have contracted the virus, don’t panic! If you haven’t traveled to a South American or Caribbean country recently, your chances of exposure are very, very low. Most of the cases in the U.S. have resulted from travel or sexual intercourse with an infected person.

Before you assume the worst and visit urgent care clinics, visit the CDC website for more information instead.