Nurse's Station

Florida Catches Zika: What Nurses Need To Know About This Dangerous Virus


Treatment, Care, and Prevention

No vaccine has yet been developed to either treat the infection or to prevent it from happening. To truly confirm the infection, a blood test is necessary.

Treatment for those infected might sound similar to treating the flu: getting a lot of bed rest and proper hydration. Analgesics and antipyretics are advisable, but aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are not – at least not until tests have confirmed dengue is out of the question; otherwise, the risk of hemorrhage is high.

A major aspect of caring for a Zika infected patient is not only the treatment but also preventing that they further pass the virus to others. The necessity of quarantine, therefore, imposes itself while other prevention strategies are highly advisable. For example, protection against mosquitos and eliminating mosquito breeding grounds will play a huge role in assuring that the virus doesn’t spread. Also, some more general actions will ensure the prevention against Zika: regular use of air conditioning, using window and door screens against mosquitos, etc. Anything to keep those mosquitos out and weak.

You might also want  to stress out the need of practicing safe sex since the virus is possibly transmissible through body fluids.


Special Care for Pregnant Women

Since the risk it poses to pregnancy is much higher, it only comes naturally that professional medical staff is on guard in preventing its incidence among pregnant woman.


Therefore it is important to include the following questions in your assessment of pregnant women:


Have they recently travelled in areas infected with Zika?


Are they aware of having any of Zika’s symptoms?


For those who have indeed travelled in Zika positive areas, the best way to go is to run some blood tests and to be alert for ultrasound findings of microcephaly.


Zika is one major issue to think about in your work with patients.


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