Summer: A Time for Sports and Long Sleeves
Jul 28, 2016 09:08AM ● Published by Tyler Hicks
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
The 2016 Summer Olympics are quickly approaching, and with people’s excitement comes fear for athletes’ and attendees’ health as the number of reported Zika cases increases. The mosquito-borne disease has impacted Central America, South America and Africa for months, and just because the illness is prominent overseas, it doesn’t mean Americans have nothing to worry about.
Brazil in particular has been a popular spot for the infected mosquitos, which began their blood-sucking rampage in May 2015 according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Legacy ER & Urgent Care, a North Texas-based hybrid model facility, wants Texans to be informed of the disease so that no matter what, they are prepared when encountering possibly disease-carrying mosquitos.
You can contract the Zika virus from a mosquito bite, through sexual intercourse, a blood transfusion and in rare instances, laboratory exposure. Those infected with the Zika virus may show no outward symptoms or will experience relatively mild side effects such as a rash, red eyes or a slight fever.
Pregnant women who contract Zika can pass it along to their unborn fetus, as Zika is a known cause of microcephaly in babies. This condition can result in delayed brain development, intellectual disabilities and problems with speech, hearing and vision. In extreme cases, microcephaly can even be fatal.
Several Olympic athletes have pulled out of the competition for fear of contracting Zika, the most prominent example being U.S. golfer Jordan Spieth. Citing the overall health concern, Spieth stated that the decision "…was probably the hardest decision I've had to make in my life."
Those visiting Brazil for the Olympics can take the following preventative measures:
- Wear long sleeves and pants
- Avoid being outdoors near mosquito-infested areas such as bodies of water
- Sleep in covered or protected areas where mosquitoes cannot enter
- Use insect repellant spray on exposed skin to ward off mosquitoes
- Use insect repellent that contains DEET