Prevention, Self-Protection and Patient Education for Zika Virus

CDC logoNurses have an important role in containing this fast moving disease. Combine what we already know about standard precautions regarding blood borne pathogens, body-fluid contact, and lessons learned by scout leaders or naturalists about insect bites. Prevention remains at the top of the list of prudent measures to protect nurses and the patients they care for from spreading this viral disease.

Outside the medical facility, educating the public about Zika’s transmission vectors and along with education about safe sex practices also helps manage the risk of contracting and/or unknowingly contributing to its rapid spread.

Whether it’s Zika or any other pathogen, conventional wisdom and common sense guidelines can provide a means of prevention, containment and eradication.

Nurses have unique, often privileged access to their patients’ attention and confidence. Leverage the safe-space for candid discussion to suggest the following from the CDC:

  • No vaccine exists to prevent Zika.
  • Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus bite mostly during the daytime
  • Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus also spread dengue and chikungunya viruses
  • Zika can be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her sex partners. Condoms (and other barriers to protect against infection) can reduce the chance of getting Zika from sex
  • Local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission has been reported in two areas of Miami. Learn more

 

 

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