The Zika virus is a frightening condition to manage as an infected person may never present with any symptom until complications arise. Another challenge is that Zika infections may present with symptoms similar to other conditions and, if not adequately investigated or suspected, may be left untreated.
There is no specific treatment for the Zika virus infection. There is also no vaccine against Zika at the moment, but there is an ongoing test in humans by the National Institute of Health. However, treatment is solely based on the management of presenting symptoms and complications that may ensue.
Uncomplicated Zika infection
In many cases of Zika virus infection, they often present with no symptoms; however, when they present with symptoms, these are usually mild. They may complain of fever, headache muscle pain, joint pain, and red-eye, among others.
Studies have shown that these symptoms do resolve well because the body's immunity can fight the infection within a week from the onset of symptoms. During this period, with appropriate medications like analgesics take care of the pain and muscle aches.
Bed rest is also recommended during this time. Adequate fluid intake is also recommended to prevent dehydration. For the fever, Tylenol (acetaminophen) can be administered.
Health agencies advise against the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aspirin, Advil (ibuprofen) or Aleve (naproxen) should not be encouraged until Dengue fever is excluded. This is to prevent the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, should it be the Dengue virus.
Also, the use of aspirin should be avoided in children with a viral infection, as this may lead to a life-threatening condition known as Reye's syndrome.
For the red-eye (conjunctivitis), it is often not treated as it resolves on its own. Viral conjunctivitis often does not respond to eye drops or ointment, but artificial tears or a cooled soaked cloth may relieve discomfort. Those on contact lenses may need to wear glasses for that period.
Proper bed rest can not be overemphasized. The treatment for Zika symptoms is summed up as rest, fluid, and analgesics, which have been reported to be just adequate.
Concerning vaccines, it is essential to know that there is no vaccine on ground yet, but there is an ongoing clinical trial in humans.
Complicated Zika infection
Complications arising from Zika infections such as congenital disabilities like Microcephaly and other neurological disorder like Gullian-Barré syndrome, ophthalmic conditions should all be referred to a pediatric specialist for prompt interventions.