As we celebrate our athletes who took home the gold this year at the Summer Olympics in Brazil, there’s one thing we’re hoping they didn’t bring home – the Zika virus. Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, director of the Emergency Department and Nursing Administration and Nursing Administration at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center tells us what we need to know.Rose Melendez

Is there a reason to be worried as Olympic athletes and spectators return to the U.S.?

Nurse Rose: At this point, no more than usual. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the same precautions for those visiting and returning from Rio as they would for any other traveler to an area with Zika virus.

What kinds of things can we do to protect ourselves?

Nurse Rose: Here are a few precautions that you can take to prevent Zika virus.

  • Protect yourself form mosquito bites. Wear long sleeves and pants, use bug spray recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and remove standing water around the house.
  • If you’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant, avoid traveling areas with Zika if possible. Check the CDC website for more information.
  • Avoid spread by sexual transmission. Couples who have traveled to areas with Zika should use condoms or not have sex for at least eight weeks.
  • Pregnant women who have traveled or lived in areas with Zika should get tested for Zika.

Another important step you can take is to check the CDC website to see what areas are affected by Zika virus and learn more about the proper precautions before traveling.

What should people who are returning from an area with Zika look out for?

Nurse Rose: If you’ve recently returned from an area with Zika, keep an eye out for these. symptoms.

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint Pain
  • Red eyes.

If you experience any of these symptoms you should:

  • See your doctor and talk to him or her about your travel
  • Take acetaminophen to relieve fever and pain.
  • Rest and drink plenty of liquids.

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Additional Health Tips from Rose

Find more family health tips online or tune into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. to hear Rose live.