The Zika Virus

Caregiver in East Meadow NY

Even if you have never been one to worry about illness or pay too much attention to the frantic reactions of the people around you to new health scares, becoming a family caregiver can completely Caregiver-in-East-Meadow-NYchange this for you. Suddenly you find yourself worrying about everything that you hear on the news and watching your parent vigilantly to see if they are showing signs of the new condition or illness. While it is admirable to be concerned about your loved one and an important part of being a caregiver, it can quickly turn into stress if it gets out of hand. Being informed about the health concerns can let you approach the risk with more control so that you can make the care approach decisions that are right for your elderly parent.

One such health issue that has been a serious concern in recent months and causing many people to panic is the Zika virus. This condition had caused a considerable amount of worry among those caring for potentially vulnerable people, including the elderly, so it is important that you know as much as you can to ensure that you are doing the right thing as their caregiver.

The first thing to realize is that Zika is a viral infection that is carried by mosquitos. Though it primarily occurs within the subtropical and tropical segments of the world such as South and Central America, it has appeared in some other areas as well. The mosquitos capable of carrying the virus are found throughout the world, which means that it does have the capacity to spread extensively.

It is important to realize that as many as 80 percent of those who contract the Zika virus do not show any form of symptoms. Simply because they do not show symptoms, however, does not mean that there is no impact on the body. For seniors especially, the virus can suppress the immune system for the duration of the condition, making them more vulnerable to other illnesses and infections.

For those who are infected and do show signs, these generally begin to appear between two days and one week after the initial bite by the mosquito carrying the virus. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Mild fever
  • Red eye
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain


For most people, the virus resolves within a week and they are able to recover fully from the infection itself. The reality is that it is extremely unlikely your parent will contract Zika virus unless they travel to an area of the world that has seen large outbreaks. It is not contagious from person to person by conventional means, which means that even if someone your parent knows has been to a country that has experienced a major outbreak and has been bitten by a mosquito, that person cannot transfer it to your loved one.

If your parent has been bitten by a mosquito recently and begins to show symptoms of illness such as aching, fever, and sense of unwell, it is important to get them medical attention quickly. There are other conditions associated with mosquito bites that could impact your parent, such as West Nile virus. Getting a diagnosis as soon as possible is important to ensuring proper treatment and care.

If you or an aging loved one are considering caregiver services in East Meadow, NY, please contact the caring staff at Family First Home Companions. Serving all of Long Island. Call today: (631) 319-3961



Jennifer Benjamin
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