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Q and A Pregnant Women: Zika Virus

February 16, 2016

What is Zika virus?
Zika virus is a mosquito-borne single-stranded RNA virus related to dengue virus. In the Americas, Zika virus is primarily transmitted by Aedes aegypti, but Aedes albopictus mosquitoes can also transmit the virus.

How is Zika virus transmitted?
Zika virus is transmitted to humans primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Aedes mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters and feed both indoors and outdoors. They can also bite at night. Zika virus can be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth. We do not know how often Zika perinatal transmission occurs. Sexual transmission of Zika virus is possible.

Is there a risk of sexual transmission to a pregnant woman from a male partner with Zika virus infection?
Sexual transmission of Zika virus can occur, although there is limited data about the risk. The risk for sexual transmission of Zika virus can be eliminated by abstinence and reduced by correct and consistent use of condoms. Additional studies are needed to characterize the risk of sexual transmission of Zika virus.
Who is at greatest risk of being infected?
Persons living in or traveling to an area where Zika virus is found who have not already been infected with Zika virus. Specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are often difficult to determine and are likely to change over time. Please visit CDC’s Zika Travel Information webpage for the most updated information.

What is the potential for Zika virus to spread to the United States?
Currently, local transmission of Zika virus by mosquitoes has not been reported in the continental United States, but has been reported in the Commonwealth Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. With the current outbreaks in the Americas, the number of cases among U.S. travelers is expected to increase. As the number of returning travelers with Zika virus disease increases, viral introduction and local spread in the U.S. may occur. As more information before available, CDC will provide updates on its Zika website.

What are symptoms of Zika virus infection?
About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become symptomatic. Characteristic clinical findings are acute onset of fever with maculopapular rash, arthralgia, or conjunctivitis. Other commonly reported symptoms include myalgia and headache. Clinical illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.

Are there complications of Zika virus infection?
There have been cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome reported in patients following suspected Zika virus infection. The relationship between Zika virus infection and Guillain-Barré syndrome is not known.

How can Zika virus infection be prevented?
There is no vaccine to prevent Zika virus infection. Travelers can protect themselves by taking steps to prevent mosquito bites. Use insect repellent; wear long-sleeved shirts and pants; and stay in places with air conditioning or with window and door screens. Pregnant women can and should choose an EPA-registered insect repellents and use it according to the product label. Given the potential risks of maternal Zika virus infection, pregnant women whose male partners have or are at risk for Zika virus infection should consider using condoms or abstaining from sexual intercourse.

Are there any special precautions for pregnant women on the use of insect repellents?
EPA-registered insect repellents containing ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, and IR3535 are safe for use during pregnancy when used in accordance with product label.

Open the full information page link from the CDC here.

information taken directly from Center for Disease Control website:
Heather Knott, RN-IBCLC


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Daddy Matters...really!!!

February 2, 2016
New mothers can really influence Dads and facilitate your partner’s involvement in ways that will be helpful not only for Dad, but for you and the baby as well. Moms- your input is the key to an important piece for getting Dads involved!

Please share this with them....(that is, unless Dad is reading this, already!)

Try to understand more about the importance and the benefits of Dads involvement. Moms depend on Dad more than he may know? Don't forget to share the details of your day, so he does not feel like a spectator. Address your concerns and encourage him to cooperate with decision making and parenting. How can you best involve Dad in activities? Schedule office visits for a time when Dad can come in, too? Schedule time for yourself away from the baby so Dad can really get a chance to bond alone?

"Moms"- What ever you do-don't delve into the pitfall of some of the following theories:
Efficiency – "It’s faster if I feed the kids myself."
Quality – "I do a better job of changing the babies’ diapers."
Sympathy – "I don’t want to bother him while he’s watching TV."
Admiration – "He works so hard…he shouldn’t have to come home and feed the kids, too."
Anger – (This happens a lot when Mom and Dad are no longer romantically involved.)
Cultural beliefs about gender roles – "Men don’t prepare meals or change diapers...that’s women’s work."

(- Adapted from Key Concepts: Including Dads in a WIC Setting)

Benefits to Children with Involved Dads:

Social Benefits:
  • Greater empathy
  • Healthier relationships with peers
  • Higher self-esteem
  • More self-control and less impulsive behavior
  • More generous
Intellectual Benefits:
  • Increased curiosity and less fear in new situations
  • Greater tolerance for stress and frustration
  • Higher verbal skills
  • Better school performance
Dads can bond with a new baby by:
  • Providing comfort, perhaps by holding baby skin-to-skin or doing infant massage.
  • Singing or talking to the baby.
  • Cuddling and soothing the baby when s/he is upset. This might include waking up with the baby at night for non feeding-related awakenings.
  • Gently rocking baby to sleep.
  • Burping the baby after breastfeeding.
  • Changing diapers or dressing the baby.
  • Giving baby a bath.
  • Playing with the baby with toys or simple hand games.
  • Taking baby for a walk.
  • Wearing a carrier that holds baby close to his body.
  • Trying to make the baby laugh with funny faces or voices.
  • Taking baby to a doctor’s appointment.
As children get older, Dad can bond and help out by:
  • Teaching a new activity.
  • Listening to their child talk and responding to them.
  • Taking the child to daycare/preschool.
  • After 6 months, introducing solid foods.
  • Doing inexpensive and fun activities with his child(ren) like craft projects, going to the playground or flying kites.
  • Including his child in his own activities at an age-appropriate level, such as giving kid-safe tasks in the kitchen or having kids help out with yard work and gardening.
"Many fathers appear to be more comfortable participating in child development services when they are given clearly delineated roles. When working with fathers who hesitate to interact with children, teachers and home visitors can try to direct fathers toward concrete activities while explaining how the activity will benefit their children's growth. Such activities can include developmentally appropriate play, arts and crafts, help with meals, and reading books."
(-Dedicated to Dads: Lessons from Early Head Start)

Dads also benefit from being involved with their children! Dads gain self-confidence, have a greater sense of overall wellbeing and are better able to express their emotions. What more could you ask for?
(- adapted from "Positive Father Involvement" by Minnesota Fathers & Families Network)

Web Resources for Dads:
Fatherhood First
Text 4 Baby
Baby Center-Tips for Dads

Heather Knott, RN-IBCLC


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