As the CDC ramps up education and warnings about the Zika virus, I wanted to give a few facts about this virus, what it can mean for you as the threat spreads, as well as some natural options you can use to protect you and your family.
What is the Zika Virus?
The Zika virus is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. To date, it has spread to at least 34 countries and territories. It is estimated by the World Health Organization that 3 to 4 million people across the Americas will be infected with the virus in the next year. There are also warnings in place to discourage travel by pregnant women to those areas. They are also warning women in those areas to avoid pregnancy, in some cases for up to two years.
One of the reasons that this virus is getting so much attention is because of the alarming connection between the virus and microcephaly in babies. This is a neurological disorder that results in babies born with very small heads and an increase in severe developmental issues and sometimes death.
As of right now, there is no vaccine for this virus.
How is the virus spread?
The Zika virus is transmitted when one of these mosquitos bites a person with an active infection and then spreads it by biting others. Those people then become carriers when they have symptoms.
They have also recently found and are continuing to investigate the role that sexual transmission plays on spreading this virus.
But regardless of the different ways that it is spread, the common thread is the link with the mosquitos.
How Can You Protect Yourself from This Virus?
The best way to protect yourself is to avoid travel to the areas of concern, especially if you are pregnant or wanting to become pregnant. As the virus continues to spread throughout the southern United States, this becomes more and more difficult.
The next thing you can do is to protect yourself from getting bit by mosquitos. Wearing long sleeves and long pants while being outside is a start for protection, but you’ll most likely want more than that. While there are several DEET based products on the market, you may have concerns about using them, especially if you are pregnant. Here is a fact sheet from Mother to Baby that walks through the different things to know about DEET based products and what to be aware of.
According to an article in The New York Times, written by Catherine Saint Louis and published on April 4, 2016, it states, “...few published studies address the effect of DEET, in mother-to-be and their offspring. None involved pregnant women in the first trimester, the period when most birth defects occur...although the scientific evidence is a bit thinner than some experts would like, most say the answer is yes, as long as you do not over apply.”
If you are nervous or leery to try one of these DEET products and are looking for a natural option to give added support, doTERRA’s TerraShield brand is a great option.
When it comes to outdoor protection, Mother Nature has a lot to offer. Essential oils can provide a vapor barrier for plants, protecting them from potential threats in their environment. TerraShield Outdoor Blend contains powerful essential oils and other plant oils known to provide outdoor protection in a natural and safe way. It is a powerful yet safe formula that can be used by every member of the family, outdoors and throughout the home.
Plus, it smells wonderful. My kids like to wear it. All you need to do is spray a little mist over your body and you’re set for the next few hours outdoors. We used this while in Guatemala and didn’t get one mosquito bite.
Check out our Essential Oils page to see how to get started using essential oils!