The most common way to contract the Zika virus is through sexual contact with an infected person or from being bitten by a mosquito that carries the virus.
If you’re a pregnant woman and you become infected with the Zika virus, there’s a chance your baby may have abnormal brain development and damage (microcephaly). This condition can lead to seizures, developmental delays, impaired motor functions, poor coordination, and cognitive impairments. A baby with a mild case of microcephaly may experience none of these symptoms.
The best way to prevent Zika virus and microcephaly is to avoid exposure.
Dignity Health Southern California hospitals pregnancy experts offer complete care, including preventive health measures for a range of infections and viruses. For more information about Zika virus and pregnancy in Southern California, Find a Doctor or visit a location below near you:
Symptoms of Zika Virus
Only about one in five people who contract the Zika virus develop sign and symptoms. The most common signs of Zika are:
- Red, inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis)
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
Researchers are still gathering information about how often Zika occurs in babies whose mothers were infected with the virus.
Causes of Zika Virus
The most common causes of Zika virus are mosquito bites and sexual contact. A pregnant mother can also spread the infection to her unborn child.
Prevention of Zika Virus & Treatment at Dignity Health Southern California Hospitals
Currently, there’s no cure for Zika and no vaccine to prevent the infection. You can take steps to protect yourself and your unborn baby by avoiding exposure.
Experts recommend that if you’re pregnant or if you’re of childbearing age, you should avoid traveling to areas where the Zika virus is active. If you live in one of these areas, or must travel to them, take these precautions:
- Stay in places with window screens and air conditioning
- Wear long sleeves and pants
- Consider wearing clothing treated with permethrin, an insecticide
- Use bug spray that contains DEET
Since Zika can be transmitted through sexual contact, you should use a condom throughout the duration of your pregnancy if your partner has traveled to a Zika-affected region.
If you experience any symptoms of Zika infection, let your doctor know immediately.
Dedicated Dignity Health doctors offer comprehensive pregnancy services, including care for pregnancy and Zika virus, in Long Beach, Northridge, Downtown LA, Glendale, and San Bernardino