Zika Virus and Upcoming Travel: What You Need to Know

Posted May 11 2016


iStock_000086916863_LargeDo you have a trip planned this summer? Are you traveling to the tropics to kick your feet up on a beach somewhere with an umbrella in your drink?

Nothing beats a relaxing summer vacation to recharge you for the second half of the year. Depending on where you are going, there are some things that you need to be aware regarding the Zika Virus. The Zika Virus is a mosquito borne illness that is making headlines in the news all over the world. Since mosquitoes are most prevalent in warm tropical areas, you should be prepared and take any necessary precautions if you are traveling to or live in ones of the areas. It should also be noted, this virus is a mosquito borne illness but just because mosquitoes are in warmer areas, doesn’t mean those who live far away from the tropics can’t be at risk too.

The CDC has issued an alert for those who are traveling to areas where the Zika virus is spreading. Click here for more information.

Prevention

Pack proper repellant! There are several different steps you can take to protect yourself from being bitten by a mosquito. Some steps include using insect repellant sprays, wearing long sleeves and pants, using bug screens on windows and doors, sleeping under a mosquito bed net, etc. There are even children’s clothes with bug repellant in them.

For those already infected, the virus can be found in the blood and can be passed onto mosquitos who aren’t carrying the virus.

The Zika Virus can also be spread during intercourse by an infected male to his partner(s). Practice safe sex, as it is not known how long the virus can stay in the semen of men who have had the virus, although it is known that it can stay longer than in blood.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of the Zika Virus include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. Symptoms tend to remain mild, lasting several days to a couple of weeks, which is a reason many may not realize they are infected with the virus. This is a problem because becoming infected with the disease while pregnant can lead to serious birth defects including microcephaly.

Treatment

There is no vaccine or specific treatment. Focus on treating the symptoms such as getting rest, prevent dehydration, and taking acetaminophen for fever and pain. Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should not be taken due to risk of bleeding.

Don’t Leave Without Coverage

Getting sick or needing medical treatment while you are abroad is a situation which no one wants to find themselves. However, having travel insurance can alleviate any stress about costs, what steps to take, and what doctors you can trust. Our insurance specialists can assist you in finding the proper coverage you and your family may need for your trip.

For more help when traveling overseas, read our previous blog, “Tips for Traveling Abroad.” We wish you safe travels along your journey. If you are interested in purchasing travel insurance, or have any questions or concerns, please contact us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0)1624 678668 or visit us at mhginsurance.com. Our insurance brokers have the experience to assist you in selecting the right plan for you, with the best value.