Symptoms of the Zika Virus: An Overview

Zika Virus SymptomsFor many people living in tropical regions in Central and South America, the Zika virus has been a concern since the 1950s. Recently, the Zika virus has spread at an alarming rate. And now the virus has traveled to North America with 14 known cases in Miami, Florida in August 2016. This virus is extremely worrisome for pregnant women or those looking to become pregnant. The Zika virus causes serious birth defects in children born to a Zika infected woman.

Because of the seriousness of this virus, it’s extremely important that the public recognize Zika virus symptoms and take proper precautions. The Zika virus can spread through infected mosquito bites or through sex with an infected partner. Recognizing Zika virus symptoms is the first step to prevention with the Zika virus. It’s also important to note that although four out of five people have visible symptoms, according to Medical Daily, some people are symptom-free and unaware that they are suffering from the virus.

Zika virus symptoms are mild, but there have been extreme cases that have required individuals to be hospitalized. Most Zika symptoms last for a couple of days and for as long as a week. If you have traveled abroad recently to a high risk region, you should listen to your body and notice any unfamiliar changes that are common Zika virus symptoms.

6 Zika Virus Symptoms

  1. Headaches

    Headaches are often the first symptom that many infected people first experience. It is important to recognize the difference between your normal sinus headache and one connected with the Zika virus. Also, if your headache becomes severe to the point where you experience sound and light sensitivity, and nausea, you may want to see a physician.

  2. Rash

    According to NBC News, a Zika rash occurs in about 90 percent of those that have been infected with the virus. Usually it starts on the hands and arms and then moves to cover the whole body and down to the feet. This rash appears to include red, raised bumps that become itchy and uncomfortable.

  3. Fever

    People infected with Zika virus begin to run a fever as symptoms progress. Often the fever is mild and does not exceed 103 degrees. If your temperature increases, you will want to drink plenty of water and get some rest. As always, if your temperature is running high consistently, you will want to seek medical attention.

  4. Joint Pain

    Pain and a burning sensation in your wrists, knees and ankles is a very common symptom of the Zika virus. This sudden onset of pain and inflammation can look like arthritis symptoms. It is especially important to notice the timing of this pain, if you are returning from the U.S. after having visited a high risk region.

  5. Muscle Pain

    Along with joint pain, individuals infected with the Zika virus sometimes experience symptoms of muscle pain and weakness. This may become especially noticeable during your regular physical activities. Remember to pay attention to your body and relieve this pain by resting and icing the affected muscles.

  6. Conjunctivitis

    Itchy, red eyes that appear to look bloodshot have been reported as a common symptom of the Zika virus. If you suddenly experience this symptom, make sure you rule out allergies or times when your eyes may have come in contact with pollutants, chemicals or other substances.

If you experience any of these symptoms following international travel or sexual contact, you should seek medical attention immediately. While the symptoms are mild, it is important to identify the zika virus through a blood test. Currently there are no vaccines or medications available to treat the zika virus. You can use Tylenol or acetaminophen to help manage the pain. Do not use Ibuprofen and aspirin as they can raise the risk of bleeding. Lastly, once a person has been infected by the zika virus, he or she is likely to be protected against future infections. Scientists and health providers are still working to discover more information about the zika virus, so at this time the research is still incomplete.

For more information on the Zika virus, Zika virus symptoms, or cases of joint and muscle pain, call Dr. Grossfeld’s office at 502-212-2663.