Q: I’m supposed to be going to Brazil in March. What doyou advise concerning the Zika virus?
A. The Zika virus is transmitted by the aedes mosquito which is prevalent in Brazil. If you are female who is or could become pregnant then the advice is to postpone your trip. There has been a large increase in the number of abnormal births particularly concerning babies where the brain has not fully formed called microcephaly. Although Brazilian Authorities have said they are exterminating the mosquito it is still very important if you are traveling to that area to use repellents. I recommend a 50% Deet preparation which is effective without causing skin irritation. You must apply the repellent during the day and particularly in the evening. It is also recommended that you cover your arms and legs using loose clothing and mosquito nets at night. If you do contract the virus then the symptoms tend to be mild fever, joint pain, itching, red eyes and headache. It is not advisable to take ibuprofen in the case of increased bleeding. Paracetamol is medicine of choice. If you are going to an area where malaria prevention medication is recommended, then we at New Life Pharmacy can provide advice and medication without the need to see your doctor. Just call in Pharmacy.