Zika virus treatment
Treating a Zika virus infection
Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment plan for Zika virus infections, nor has a vaccine yet been developed. Doctors thus typically treat the set of active virus symptoms presented during consultation and testing.
As the symptoms are typically flu-like in nature, doctors will recommend the following:
- Plenty of rest
- Plenty of fluid-intake (water, broths and juices will help to prevent dehydration)
- The taking of over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce fever, aches and pains
Treatment recommendations will take into consideration any other medications and supplements (including herbal products) already being taken, so as to avoid adverse drug interactions. If it is determined during the initial consultation that aspirin or NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications) were used to treat symptoms before a specific viral infection was diagnosed, a doctor will have requested immediate discontinuation. Until dengue fever is ruled out, none of these medication types will be safe to take as they can lead to internal bleeding (haemorrhage).
Symptoms of Zika virus should clear within a week (approximately 7 days).
Treatment tips when caring for another with a Zika virus infection
Exposure to the virus through bodily fluids can place someone caring for an infected person at risk. Although few, cases of this means of transmission have been documented.
Things a person can do to minimise risk of exposure include:
- Avoiding direct skin contact: Take extra care not to touch bodily fluids (such as blood) or surfaces where these fluids have come into contact. Wear gloves where possible to avoid doing so.
- Handwashing: Each and every time an infected person is handled during care, gloves should be worn where possible and hands should be washed with soap and water. Handwashing is advised before and after physical contact with an infected person.
- Home hygiene: The environment an infected individual is staying in must be cleaned daily using household cleaning agents and disinfectants, paying special attention to surfaces that have come into contact with bodily fluids.
- Clothing: Worn clothing should be washed daily using laundry detergent, especially if exposed to the bodily fluids of an infected individual.