My husband and I will be in Nicaragua on vacation for part of the month of June. When we first were planning our trip, there were only a couple cases of the Zika virus there. However, since then the Zika virus has become more prevalent there. I am looking into ways of preventing us from getting the Zika virus.
What is the Zika Virus?
The Zika virus is a disease that is generally spread by a mosquito bite by the Aedes species mosquito. The symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (Source). This is usually considered to be a mild illness. People rarely go to the hospital or die from the illness. In fact, many people who are infected are asymptomatic.
However, it can be dangerous to pregnant women and their unborn children. According to the CDC, the Zika virus can cause microcephaly in babies, which is a severe birth defect where the baby’s head is much smaller than normal as a result of the brain not developing properly or has stopped growing after birth (Source). The Zika virus can also cause other severe fetal brain defects. It really is heartbreaking to see what has happened to these babies around the world. Prevention is so important.
1. Natural Bug Spray
On the exterior, we will be applying a natural bug spray with oil of lemon eucalyptus (the CDC recommends this as a natural alternative to DEET). This brand and this brand have mostly great reviews. I plan on buying a couple of bottles of the Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellent brand. Based on the reviews, they both sound like they are very effective. The downside to the Coleman Botanicals DEET-Free Insect Repellant Bug Spray is a few people have complained about the bottle leaking. I definitely don’t want that happening while we are traveling!
2. Bug Repellant Bracelets
Also, we plan on wearing one of these bug repellant bracelets as additional protection. Supposedly they work. I looked over a number of reviews for several different bracelets. I was happiest with the reviews with the JUNGLEshackle Natural Mosquito Repellent Bracelet. This particular product is made from 100% natural essential oils and therefore is not waterproof. However, it is very useful as an additional layer of protection from mosquito bites. We will be wearing them as often as possible, especially when there is a chance of us being around mosquitoes.
3. Homeopathic Prophylactic
I will be taking Eupatorium Perfoliatum 200C in a liquid dose as a prophylactic against the Zika virus. My husband will take this while we are there as well. This is a homeopathic medicine that is also used to prevent and cure dengue fever. You can read about it here on this website.
As Mr. De Livera states on that page, the Zika virus is the same genus as Dengue Fever, Flavivirus (Source). This website also discusses using Eupatorium to treat the Zika virus. In addition, the author states that Belladonna and Rhus Tox can be used to treat this virus.
As always, I recommend consulting with your doctor first before using any of these natural medicines. If you are not experienced with homeopathy, you should also consult with a homeopath to know which remedy is appropriate for you. Washington Homeopathic sells Eupatorium Perfoliatum 200C in liquid.
We will be sleeping under a mosquito net every night we are there. Before sleeping under it, we will make sure that there are no holes in the net. We will be staying in a house with air conditioning too. Both of these tips are recommendations from the CDC (Source).
5. Immune System
As with any virus, the Zika virus generates an immune response. Therefore, it is important to boost your immune system. This is especially critical if you know you may be exposed to a virus. Taking probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin D are great ways of boosting the immune system.
My husband and I have been taking probiotics and cod liver oil for a while and we will continue to do so while we are in Nicaragua. Vitamin D should be easy to obtain while we are there getting lots of sun. Vitamins A and D are also found in cod liver oil. We will both take a vitamin C supplement in addition to eating vitamin C rich foods while we are there like papaya and guava.
We practice NFP (Natural Family Planning) in our marriage. I notified my doctor’s office that we will be traveling to Nicaragua. In addition to following the CDC guidelines on preventing the Zika virus, they are recommending that their patients be abstinent. They didn’t specify for how long, but I will update you when I find out more.
My NFP practitioner clarified that the doctor’s office meant to be abstinent during the fertile periods. However, if you are already pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant soon, you will need to be abstinent for a longer period of time. Even the CDC says that the only way to prevent someone from getting the sexually transmitted Zika virus is abstinence (Source).
7. Lab Testing
I have looked into getting tested for the virus upon our return to the US. So far, there is no official FDA approved lab test for the Zika virus. There are a number of problems with the current tests. First of all, sometimes people can get a false positive result (Source). Also, most people who are experiencing mild symptoms are not quick to go to the doctor or emergency room.
The CDC recommends obtaining urine samples less than 14 days after experiencing symptoms of the Zika virus. It may be too late to get an accurate result past this window of time. Lastly, the CDC will not initiate testing unless you have actually experienced symptoms of the virus (Source). This is something that definitely needs to be improved as some people with the virus are asymptomatic.
The Chinese herb Qing Hao has been used to cure malaria and colon cancer. The phytochemical artesunate is believed to have achieved these results in patients. Unfortunately, the FDA is not testing artesunate or other herb-derived molecules for their abilities to treat the Zika virus. The money is found in testing the power of pharmaceutical drugs (Source).
In the article below, it discusses Ayurvedic treatment for the Zika virus. The author discusses good ways of preventing yourself from getting the virus in addition to boosting your immune system. They also talk about a number of natural cures to the virus, including an herbal remedy called Madhuparni. Read about it more here.
These are all the ways my husband and I plan on preventing ourselves from getting the Zika virus while traveling in Central America. We definitely plan on practicing the first 6 ways I explained. The other treatments I discussed are for your reference.
There are a lot of natural ways of treating the Zika virus. It is truly a shame that the media is not talking about them, especially since they claim that there is no known cure of the virus! We need to be talking about all the ways of preventing and treating it, not just the ones that will line the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry. Let me know what you think in the comments!
Asian tiger mosquito in action by frankieleon (2009) https://www.flickr.com/photos/23307937@N04/3779182508/
Excuse me, is that my blood you’re digesting? by Katja Schulz (2012) https://www.flickr.com/photos/86548370@N00/7512088706/
Photo Attribution by PhotosForClass.com