Zika in South Florida: what you need to know

Fears growing among pregnant women in S. Florida
Posted at 5:25 PM, Aug 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-01 20:26:47-04

Facebook is filled with women who are worried about the spread of the Zika virus.  They're searching for answers about what to do to stay safe.  

Dr. Keith Aqua with the Institute for Women's Health says even though the confirmed Zika cases are in Miami Dade County, people living in Palm Beach County and on the Treasure Coast need to protect themselves against mosquito bites.

Amanda Carson, a mother, said she was ready for just about anything South Florida would bring this summer.  She's here with her family visiting her parents.

"This was not even on our radar planning, but had we known, honestly, I think we would have thought to ask family to visit us (in Texas)."

With three kids, she's not necessarily looking to get pregnant.

"There's always the possibility of expanding the family," she said. " If that were to happen here, my anxiety would be heightened for sure."

Carson wonders if she should change her daily routine while she's here.

"In general, the answer is no, except for prevention of getting a mosquito bite, which would require staying indoors, which is not all that practical," said Dr. Aqua."But if you are going to be outside in South Florida, a tropical environment, you are going to want to wear full protection of clothing- both long pants and shirts."

Aqua also said you would want to use an insect repellant with deet.   All advice he acknowledged was difficult to do.  "But like I said, there is no vaccine, no way to prevent transmission in South Florida," said Aqua.

When asked how long Zika stays in our system, Dr. Aqua said "we don't not at this time, but we know three to six months would be an appropriate time to wait."

He said if you are pregnant and start having symptoms like headaches, muscle aches, or red eyes, contact your doctor within the first week for blood testing.