Two weeks until spring, DHEC advises public to take precautions against Zika

Two weeks until spring, DHEC advises public to take precautions against Zika

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Spring is less than two weeks away and many of you are planning vacations.

But while you're making those plans you need to be aware that Zika is still a threat.

Local doctors said they haven't seen a Zika threat on the Grand Strand so far this year.

They're actually still learning more about how this virus is changing on a daily basis.

But doctors say if you're booking a flight or just simply at home you don't need to panic, but you do need to be aware.

When traveling to any country with active Zika transmission, protect yourself. In order to prevent mosquito bites, use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay indoors as much as possible.

If you're planning to travel you should talk to a travel clinic or your doctor to see if you are traveling to an area with active Zika transmission.

Even while you're at home you can do your part.

Simply toss out any container with standing water because it could be a breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus.

Most people infected with the Zika virus do not display symptoms and may not know they have contracted the virus.

But when symptoms are present they appear within 14 days of the initial infection.

"There's about five or six symptoms that can appear, basically a red skin rash, conjunctivitis or what people call pink eye, leachates, low grade fevers and a lot of myalgia's and arthralgia's that make bones and muscles ache, " Beach Urgent Care Doctor Ron Reynolds said.

There are 61 travel-related cases of Zika virus reported in South Carolina since April 2016, according to DHEC.

You should know ahead of time where Zika is actively spreading around the world.

As of right now, it's in countries and territories in the Caribbean, Central America, South America, the Pacific Islands and Cape Verde.

In the United States, cases are in both Florida and Texas.

Another big issue the CDC is focusing on is Zika and pregnancy.

Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus.

With that being said, the CDC and local doctors said pregnant women should not travel to areas abroad where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.

"People don't need to panic but they do need to use common sense, this is only going to progress as the weather warms up, when you get into the spring and summer months mosquitos are going to be active so that's when you need to be most concerned," Reynolds said.

If you already booked a trip to an area that has seen outbreaks of Zika, many airlines and travel companies are flexible when it comes to rescheduling or even canceling travel.

But always make sure you book travel insurance just in case.

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