Remember the old joke: There are 2 blokes camping and a Grizzly Bear wanders towards the camp. One bloke grabs his running shoes and starts pulling them on. His mate laughs and says “I wouldn’t bother Mate, that Bear can do 40 miles per hour on the charge – there’s no way you can outrun him!” To which Bloke 1 replies “that’s OK I don’t need to outrun him – I just need to outrun you!”
Mozzies are like that…. If you wear the repellent properly and long sleeves and trousers, but the person next to you doesn’t the Mozzies will get them not you!
This matters if the mozzie has Zika. And it might if you’re currently anywhere in South or Central America – or even in some of our nearer neighbours. The little bug(ger) has been spotted over the last few years in French Polynesia, New Caledonia and the Cook islands amongst others.
BUT….. If you are NOT pregnant or planning to get that way then you shouldn’t be too alarmed. It may be that if your partner is aiming for conception you should also be wary because there have been a few apparent cases of sexual transmission.
Otherwise there’s not too much to worry about….Zika is a fairly mild beast compared even to it’s near cousin Dengue, and you’re more likely to get that if you’re in South-East Asia – YES including that quick week by the beaches of Bali or Thailand. Zika doesn’t even get noticed by 4/5ths of people who get it. The other 20% get mild temperatures, maybe a headache, conjunctivitis or joints aching, and usually get better very quickly. It is very rare for anybody to get any serious problems from this virus.
Zika is one good reason not to get bitten by the mozzies (and these are daytime mozzies but there are others that like to come out at dusk to see the sunset, and night-time biters too) but there are lots of others: Malaria, Dengue, Japanese encephalitis and Chikungunya to mention a few. Why not let your Mate get bitten and need to consult us here at Docto, whilst you stay healthy! One of the problems is that (like a lot of viruses) there’s not a lot of treatment we can use if you do get Zika – just paracetamol and fluid replenishment really.
So here’s the Docto advice for all your trips to places with exotic Mozzie-carried diseases, and actually for when you are at home and don’t want the itchy/scratchies….
(with apologies to the famous Public Health Campaign here in Oz):
SLIP on your long sleeves and trousers
SLOP on the FULL STRENGTH insect repellent (DEET or picaridin) – put your sunscreen on first
SLEEP under a Mozzie net, in a screened room or with the Air-Con or fan on where possible
If you don’t get bitten you won’t get Zika (or malaria or any of those other nasties)
If you are worried you can talk to us here at Docto or your own doctor. A blood test is the only way to know if you’ve really got it,
Try the government Smartraveller website for current maps of where Zika is active
If you are pregnant or live in the North of Australia and you think you may have Zika then get to your Doctor and be checked. If not then paracetamol for fevers and aches and pains and maintain good (balance) fluid intake and time is the solution. If in doubt check us out at Docto and we can help with travel-related medical advice if you need us!