Vacation? Protect Yourself From Zika

Zika virus is a growing concern for people traveling this summer, as it has begun spreading rapidly through new regions in Central America and the United States.

Zika virus typically has very mild symptoms, but it can put people at risk of complications such as infant microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome. There is currently no cure or vaccine for the Zika virus.

AFC Urgent Care wants you and your family to be protected while on vacation, so if you’re planning to travel to an area that has been affected by Zika, like Africa, Southeast Asia, Central and South America, or the Pacific Islands, read on for our tips to keep yourself safe.

Avoid going out during peak mosquito activity. Early morning and early evening are the most active times for mosquitoes, so you should try to avoid spending a lot of time outside during those times of day. Careful planning can allow you to have breakfast and dinner inside and still enjoy the sights and experiences of your destination.

Use insect repellents. Bug sprays registered with the Environmental Protection Agency are the most likely to be effective at keeping mosquitoes away. You can also treat your clothing with permethrin, an insecticide and repellent that acts like natural extracts from the chrysanthemum flower. This chemical is widely-used by public health mosquito control programs, and it can give the wearer a bubble of protection.

Studies have shown that permethrin is one of few pesticides that could be safe for young children.

Use barriers like netting and clothing. You can add a physical barrier between you and mosquitoes by wearing loose-fitting clothing that covers most of your skin. Thin, loose fabric can keep you cool in warm climates, while allowing you to protect yourself from bites. You can also add mosquito netting to baby strollers, hats and hotel rooms that don’t have window screens or air conditioning. These measures can keep you protected around the clock!

Use condoms or abstinence. To prevent sexual transmission of the Zika virus, doctors recommend the same measures you can take against other sexually transmitted diseases. Employing physical barriers like condoms or abstaining from sexual activity are two very effective ways to protect yourself from Zika!

The Zika virus has begun to spread quickly through countries like Brazil, and many cases have been confirmed in the United States. While the disease can be unnoticeable when you contract it, there are complications that can make the virus a much bigger health problem.

If you need more information, visit your local AFC Urgent Care for advice on vaccines and other ways you can keep your family healthy while on vacation!
DE is now AFC

Advertisements

Memphis Doctors Warn of Dangerous Insect Diseases As Memorial Weekend Approaches

(May 24, 2016)   As families head out for Memorial Day weekend, local docs warn that insect-borne diseases are increasing here and globally, taking a bite out of summer fun and posing serious health threats.

•Infected mosquitos carrying the Zika virus are expected to enter the U.S. starting in June or July, meaning Americans could get infected right here at home – according to the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. *
• One type of infected mosquito likely to carry Zika will blanket the south and reach as far north as New York City and as far west as San Francisco.  Another species could spread widely along the East Coast and New England. *
• A newly released study in the journal Climatic Change shows another half a billion people could be at risk from diseases carried by insects including the Zika virus and West Nile virus.
• The World Health Organization reports that Zika, with most outbreaks in South America and Southeast Asia, now has a moderate likelihood of an outbreak in France, Italy and Greece —popular American summer tourist destinations.

The problem? Global warming has created warmer, wet breeding grounds for insects that are “sip feeders” — taking small blood meals from lots of people.

“With Zika spreading to the U.S., we are urging our patients to take precautions to protect themselves from bug bites,” says Jeremy Allen, M.D., of American Family Care. “We are here seven days a week to treat all summer injuries and illnesses from sunburn to bug bites. And if we suspect patients have contracted an insect-carried disease we will make sure they get the proper medical treatment.”

We invite you to interview our docs at the local AFC urgent care to explain the best way to protect your family from bug-bite diseases. We also invite you to talk to families in our clinics about their fears of these illnesses as they prepare for summer travel.

Zika Virus Fast Facts:
• You get the Zika virus from a bite from an infected Aedes mosquito.
• The disease is mostly a threat for women who are pregnant or want to conceive because it can cause serious birth defects.
• Zika is very hard to detect and diagnose. The symptoms are often very mild so people don’t realize they have the virus. In fact, one in five people who contract Zika have few or no symptoms.
• Symptoms include fever, rash, joint and muscle pain and conjunctivitis (pink eye).

West Nile Virus Fast Facts:
• Carried by mosquitos and transmitted when they bite.
• Symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting and in older adults — stiff neck, confusion, seizures, muscle weakness and loss of consciousness.

HOW TO PROTECT FROM ZIKA AND WEST NILE VIRUS:
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
• Stay in places with air conditioning and screens to keep mosquitos outside.
• Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and can’t protect yourself.
• Use EPA registered insect repellents with one of these ingredients: DEET, picaridin, or oil of eucalyptus.

Lyme Disease:
•Spread by tiny deer ticks that attach to the skin.
•First and most obvious symptom is a rash that looks like a red spot surrounded by a light ring that looks like a target. Some children have fever, fatigue, headaches, sore muscles and swollen glands.
•Lyme disease can cause headaches and body aches or numbness, stiff joints (similar to arthritis), fatigue, meningitis (inflammation of the nervous system), Bell’s palsy (weakness/paralysis in facial muscles), heart problems like inflammation of the heart muscle, inflammation of the eye and difficulties with speech, memory or concentration.

HOW TO PREVENT LYME DISEASE:
• Cover up. When in wooded or grassy areas, wear shoes, long pants tucked into your socks, a long-sleeved shirt, a hat and gloves. Try to stick to trails and avoid walking through low bushes and long grass. Keep your dog on a leash.
• Use insect repellents. Apply insect repellent with a 20 percent or higher concentration of DEET to your skin. Parents should apply repellent to their children, avoiding their hands, eyes and mouth. Apply products with permethrin to clothing or buy pretreated clothing.
• Do your best to tick-proof your yard. Clear brush and leaves where ticks live. Keep woodpiles in sunny areas.
• Check yourself, your children and your pets for ticks. Be especially vigilant after spending time in wooded or grassy areas. Deer ticks are often no bigger than the head of a pin, so you may not discover them unless you search carefully.
• It’s helpful to shower as soon as you come indoors. Ticks often remain on your skin for hours before attaching themselves. Showering and using a washcloth might remove unattached ticks.
• Don’t assume you’re immune. You can get Lyme disease more than once.
• Remove a tick as soon as possible.  Using tweezers, gently grasp the tick near its head or mouth. Don’t squeeze or crush the tick, but pull carefully and steadily. Once you’ve removed the entire tick, dispose of it and apply antiseptic to the bite area.

*Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

About American Family Care:
Starting with a single location in Hoover, Alabama in 1982, American Family Care has pioneered the concept of non-emergency room urgent care. With its 2013 acquisition of the Doctors Express franchise, AFC is the nation’s leading provider of urgent care and accessible primary care, with more than 160 clinics and 500 in-network physicians caring for more than 2 million patients a year. Ranked by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S., AFC’s stated mission is to provide the best healthcare possible, in a kind and caring environment, while respecting the rights of all patients, in an economical manner, at times and locations convenient to the patient. For more information, visit www.americanfamilycare.com.