Summer travelers beware of the Zika virus

As you plan for vacation this summer, be aware of the Zika virus.

Photo courtesy James Gathany - PHIL, CDC, Public Domain

SAN DIEGO, June 21, 2016 — It’s officially summer, and now is the time to choose which vacation spots would make for the most fun and interesting trips.

However, popular travel destinations such as Africa, Asia, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Latin America, Mexico and the Gulf states in the United States can be some of the riskiest areas to visit when it comes to potential to contract the Zika virus.

Transmission electron microscope image of Zika virus (in red), Photo courtesy NIAID - Zika Virus, CC BY 2.0
Transmission electron microscope image of Zika virus (in red), Photo courtesy NIAID – Zika Virus, CC BY 2.0

Found in many tropical regions worldwide that  have warm climates and are at lower levels of elevation, the Aedes aegypti mosquito carries the Zika virus.

The virus itself is located in the bile of the Aedes mosquito.

The mosquitoes can also travel to other areas by attaching to the clothing or luggage of unsuspecting travelers from countries known to have the carrier mosquitoes.

Infection can occur by direct contact with the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

The Zika virus can also be sexually transmitted.

Zika can cause birth defects in women who are pregnant. Zika can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects.

According to the World Health Organization, once infected, symptoms might last 2-7 days and resemble those of the flu virus, which includes fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis (red eyes), muscle and joint pain, headache and malaise.

It is critical that those who become ill and suspect infection with the Zika virus seek immediate medical attention to confirm a diagnosis.

The presence of a Zika infection will be medically determined by blood tests and testing of other bodily fluids.

There is no known cure for the Zika virus.

With no known specific treatments, the WHO recommends getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of fluids and treating pain and fever with over-the-counter medication, unless a medical professional makes other recommendations.

Summertime favorite: Seared salmon with sweet potatoes

To prevent contracting the Zika virus, it is recommended to wear clothing which completely covers the skin; and also to use a topical mosquito repellent that contains lemon eucalyptus or DEET (be aware of any known allergies).

Choosing a travel destination that is known to be at low risk for contracting the Zika virus could be a good idea for traveling vacationers this summer.

It can also be a great way to stay healthy while enjoying the benefits of exploring new surroundings, stress free, this summer.

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 32 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.

In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.

Copyright © 2016 by At Your Home Familycare


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Laurie Edwards-Tate
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging of America including the Baby Boomer generation, now being called the “Silver Tsunami.” It is the Baby Boomers who are rapidly redefining what aging and growing older means and looks like in America today. Now celebrating its 28th year in business, AYHF is among San Diego County’s Top Women-Owned Businesses and Fastest Growing Businesses, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service. Edwards-Tate is a valued contributor to the public dialogue on current issues and challenges in the home care industry, and serves in leadership roles on the Home Care Aide Association of America Advisory Board and Private Duty Home Care Association Advisory Board, as well as the Home Care Aide Steering Committee of the California Association for Health Services at Home. Edwards-Tate is frequently interviewed in the media on healthy aging, caregiving, and health care topics. Follow Laurie and AYHF at; on Facebook at, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare