Zika Virus – Do You Need To Be Scared?

Infectious Diseases

Zika Virus – What You Need To Know

It’s wintertime, and heading down South is on many people’s minds right now.

With the dreaded Zika Virus prevalent in the Caribbean, South America and Mexico, many of my patients and friends are debating cancelling their trips. Should you panic, I don’t think so.

Here is what you need to know in a nutshell.

Health Blog - zika virusFast facts

  • Only 1/5 of people infected will have symptoms
  • The incubation period (time from infection till symptoms) is a few days to a week
  • Symptoms are typically mild and only last a few days
  • Zika can be found in the blood of an infected person for a few days
  • Few people with infection require hospitalization and death is RARE.
  • The highest rates of Zika infection at this time are in Central and South America, the Caribbean and Mexico.

What are the symptoms of Zika virus infection?

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache

How do we make a diagnosis of Zika?

The symptoms of Zika virus are similar to other mosquito-borne infections such as dengue and chikumgunya. See your doctor if you develop symptoms and have recently visited an area with Zika. Blood tests looking for antibodies can be done.

Health Blog - zika virusIs there any treatment?

Treatment for Zika virus is SYMPTOMATIC only. There is no specific treatment, and most cases are mild anyway.

Fever and pain medicine like Acetaminophen and Paracetamol are usually enough.

Why are pregnant women more at risk?

Infection in pregnant women can potentially lead to negative outcomes in their babies. There have been some reports of congenital microcephaly (small head) in babies whose mothers contracted Zika in pregnancy.

At this time, pregnant women are being discouraged from travelling to areas with high Zika infection rates.

If you have Zika virus, ensure you:

  • Get rest
  • Drink lots of fluids to prevent dehydration
  • Take fever or pain medicines as directed
  • Avoid Aspirin or NSAIDS (like Ibuprofen), unless you are sure you do not have dengue (as NSAID use can increase the risk of bleeding)
  • If you have Zika virus avoid mosquito bites. Mosquitos that bite you can pass the virus onto someone else.


  • Avoid mosquito areas from dusk till dawn
  • Kids and adults over the age of 6 months can wear Deet containing bug spray.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants when you can
  • Aim for light colour clothing
  • Use mosquito netting on strollers and car seats for babies.

Going to an area where Zika is prevalent?

Chat with your doctor about it!

Happy traveling!

Health Blog - zika virus

Dr. Dina Kulik, MD, FRCPC, PEM

Written By: Dr. Dina Kulik, MD, FRCPC, PEM

Dina is a wife, mother of 4, and adrenaline junky. She loves to share children’s health information from her professional and personal experience. More About Dr Dina.

You might also enjoy

Symptoms of a Bladder Infection in Kids

Urinary tract infections are prevalent in kids — especially if you have an infant in diapers or an older child that holds in their urine for more extended periods (like in the classroom or during extracurricular activities). This is especially true for a constipated toddler who is less able to communicate the issue.

Causes of Sore Throat in Kids Including Viral Pharyngitis and Strep Throat

Causes of Sore Throat in Kids Including Viral Pharyngitis and Strep Throat

Is your kid not eating and drinking? What can be the possible reason? Perhaps your child has a sore throat, viral pharyngitis, or strep throat. Sore throat is medically known as “pharyngitis. This is the inflammation of the pharynx. Usually, we see viral pharyngitis or sore throat caused by viral infections. Other times we see pharyngitis as a result of a bacterial infection like strep throat.

Stomach Flu Treatment in Kids – What to Know and Do

Stomach Flu Treatment in Kids – What to Know and Do

Stomach Flu in children – or viral gastroenteritis – can be unsettling and something that all parents dread. However, it generally just requires hydration to best combat the illness. If your child is not eating, it can be ok as long as they are drinking plenty of fluids.

Dr. Dina Kulik - Subscribe to my Blog
Dr Dina Kulik - Kids Health blog

The general information provided on the Website is for informational purposes and is not medical advice.

Do NOT use this Website for medical emergencies.

If you have a medical emergency, call a physician or qualified healthcare provider, or CALL 911 immediately. Under no circumstances should you attempt self-treatment based on anything you have seen or read on this Website. Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed and qualified health provider in your jurisdiction concerning any questions you may have regarding any information obtained from this Website and any medical condition you believe may be relevant to you or to someone else. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.

Success! Check Your Inbox

Success! Check Your Inbox

Success! Check Your Inbox

COVID Toolbox

Success! Check Your Inbox

Dr Dina Kulik - Kids Health blog


Success! Thanks for Subscribing!

Dr Dina Kulik - Kids Health blog


Success! Thanks for Subscribing!

Dr Dina Kulik - Kids Health - Constipation Management

Success! Check Your Inbox