Where in the world is Zika?

27
Jun
Posted by Lauren

mosquitoYou’ve probably heard a lot about the Zika virus on the news lately; it’s hard to keep track of the facts. Here is your one-stop-shop to find out where the virus is spreading.

Local transmission

Local mosquito-borne Zika virus (also referred to as local transmission) means that mosquitoes in an area are infected with the Zika virus and can transmit it to people.

Here is a complete listing of Zika affected areas with local mosquito-borne zika virus:

Americas:

  • Argentina
  • Aruba
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bolivia
  • Bonaire
  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Curacao
  • Dominica
 

  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • French Guiana
  • Grenada
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Martinique
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Saint Barthélemy
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Martin
  • Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
  • Sint Maarten
  • Suriname
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Venezuela

Oceania/Pacific Islands

  • American Samoa
  • Fiji
  • Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia
  • Marshall Islands
  • New Caledonia
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Samoa
  • Tonga

 

Africa

  • Cape Verde

 

Although we have cases of people infected with the Zika virus within the continental U.S., we currently do not have any local transmission cases, meaning that no one in the continental U.S. has gotten the virus from a local mosquito.

Mosquitoes are not the only way the Zika virus can be transmitted. To learn about all the different ways and how to protect yourself visit our website.

 

Updated June 27, 2016.

 

Protect yourself from mosquitoes

24
Jun
Posted by Sara

Zika - bug sprayThe most common way for Zika to spread is through the bite of an infected mosquito. So the best way to protect yourself is to avoid mosquito bites. While Zika is currently not being transmitted in the US, it’s still a good idea to know how to keep you and your family safe.

Use insect repellant

The best way to protect yourself against mosquito bites is to use insect repellant. Here are a few things to look for when choosing a spray or lotion:

  • Use one that is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). All EPA-registered bug sprays and lotions are checked to make sure they’re safe and effective.
  • Use products that contain:
    • DEET
    • picaridin
    • oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • Most repellants are safe to use on babies 2 months and older, but check with your baby’s health care provider.  Do not use oil of lemon eucalyptus on children 3 years or younger.
  • Do not wear insect repellant under clothes.
  • Put on sunscreen first before any bug spray.

If you’ve been in a Zika-affected area, use insect repellant for 3 weeks after you return, even if you do not feel sick. This will help to prevent Zika from spreading to others.

Wear the right clothing

  • Wear a hat, a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, shoes and socks. Ankles and necks are especially vulnerable to mosquito bites so make sure they are protected.
  • If hiking or camping, wear permethrin-treated clothes. Do not use permethrin on skin.
  • If you are pregnant or trying to conceive and you work outside, talk to your employer about working inside. If that’s not possible, make sure your clothes protect and cover your skin.

Keep your environment safe

  • Take steps to keep mosquitoes outside and to prevent them from breeding.
  • Remove any standing water.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning.
  • Make sure that screens on doors or windows are intact and do not have any holes.
  • Use mosquito netting across the top of your baby’s stroller or crib to help keep your baby safe from mosquitoes. Keep the netting out of reach of your baby and make sure it doesn’t touch your baby’s face or body.

Learn more about Zika on our website. Questions? Email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

 

The Zika virus may stop brain development causing microcephaly and birth defects

22
Jun
Posted by Barbara

mosquito_3DWhen a woman is pregnant and is infected with the Zika virus, it may cross the placenta and may stop the development of a baby’s brain. Zika infection during pregnancy causes a birth defect called microcephaly as well as other brain problems known as “fetal brain disruption sequence.”

Microcephaly means small (micro) head (cephaly) – a baby’s head is smaller than the heads of babies of the same age and sex. Microcephaly does not always cause serious problems for a baby. But in certain cases, microcephaly can cause lasting consequences, such as intellectual and developmental disabilities. Babies born with microcephaly may have cerebral palsy, poor growth, face deformities, feeding problems, seizures, problems with hearing or vision, and hyperactivity. They may face life-threatening medical conditions. Microcephaly caused by the Zika virus may be severe and is extremely concerning.

There is no cure for microcephaly. Babies with microcephaly will need regular medical check-ups and follow up care. Many will need specialized treatment by doctors such as a neurologist, developmental and behavioral pediatrician, and rehabilitation specialists. Early intervention services for babies and toddlers as well as special education services for children ages 3 and older, may be essential in helping a child develop.

Fetal brain disruption sequence refers to the halting of the development of a baby’s brain as a result of being exposed to the Zika virus. This stop in development can result in a wide variety of health problems for the baby, which can be lifelong.

The Zika virus may also be linked to growth problems in the womb, miscarriage and stillbirth.

Vaccine progress

Currently, there are no FDA-approved vaccines to prevent Zika. But, the FDA (The US Food and Drug Administration) has approved the first Zika vaccine study in human volunteers, ahead of schedule. Clinical trials should begin in the next few weeks. Although this is great news, it could take years before a safe vaccine is available to the public.

How can you stay safe?

The Zika virus is real and dangerous. Until a vaccine is available, learn all you can about how to stay safe.

The March of Dimes maintains up-to-the-minute information and materials for women and families on our website and social media. All of our information is drawn from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and other trusted sources, and available in both English and Spanish. Learn more at:

marchofdimes.org/zika
nacersano.org/zika

Check out our Twitter handle @modhealthtalk for the latest Zika news and Twitter chats.

You can help us spread the word about the Zika virus by passing along our bilingual factsheet which tells you how to protect yourself and others from Zika.

Have questions? Send them to AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

 

Zika and pregnancy – 3 quick facts

20
Jun
Posted by Sara

Zika pregnancy infographic MOD

Be sure to check out our article for everythying you need to know about the Zika virus and pregnancy. Learn what it is, how it spreads, signs and symptoms, how to avoid it, how it affects pregnant women and babies, and what you can do to be safe.

Questions? Text or email AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

A message from one NICU dad to another

18
Jun
Posted by Barbara

Special thanks to Jeff Bradbury, father of triplets born prematurely, for being our Father’s Day guest blogger.

Bradbury Family_rtcrTo All NICU Fathers on this very special day

Congratulations everyone. Happy Father’s Day. It’s still very unusual to say that phrase and remember that I am now included in the very special and very important group of people known as “Dad.” My father’s day like many of yours came early. Three and a half months early to be exact. I was told that my first father’s day would be in February and unexpectedly, it happened in early November. I actually celebrated my first Father’s Day 3 times with the arrival of my wonderful set of Triplets.

For three long months, my babies, otherwise known to the world as the @EduTriplets grew up in not one, but two NICU’s more than three hours apart from each other. If you are a father with one or more precious babies currently in the NICU I have three very important pieces of information for you.

TRUST

Trust in your NICU staff. Trust in your relationships with your family. Trust in your ability to keep your sanity while you are trying not to break out in tears every time the NICU door closes behind you as you leave to go back home. Trust that everything will be ok.

PREPARE

While nothing can fully prepare you for the moment your babies arrive, the fact that your babies arrive much earlier than expected completely throws your schedule off. For three months, both my wife and I had to work full time jobs, and also choose which NICU to visit at night. I remember leaving two of our babies one night and then driving to the local Babies R Us only to load up our brand new van (Triplet Mobile) with over $3,000 worth baby goods. Take the time to process everything while your baby is receiving the care they need by the amazing members of your NICU staff. When the day actually does come when you are allowed to bring your baby home, you won’t have the time to do the things you want to.

BE CREATIVE

I remember being shocked at the fact that my triplets were born in the middle of the second trimester. I remember being overwhelmed because they were not only living in separate hospitals, but separate states. I remember needing to vent but not knowing exactly what to do or where to do it. I decided to vent to my podcasting audience. I decided that when I was completely worn out from the heavy stress of the situation, the only thing I would be able to do is be creative. I know it’s hard to even imagine, but everyone needs to recharge their batteries in times of stress.

This year, I will be celebrating my 3rd Father’s Day. For the first time, my babies will be able to actually say the words “Happy Father’s Day.” I am very much looking forward to hearing it. I wish all fathers out there a very special Happy Father’s Day. You all deserve a gold star this year.Gold star

Jeffrey Bradbury is the father of the @EduTriplets who are now 31 months of age. He is the Coordinator of Technology Integration for Westwood Regional School District in New Jersey and the founder of the TeacherCast Educational Broadcasting Network. Find Jeff on Twitter @JeffBradbury and listen to his fabulous TED Talk! 

A man’s preconception health matters – come chat with us to learn why

15
Jun
Posted by Barbara

You're invited! #PCHchat on June 16Join the conversation on Twitter tomorrow, June 16th to learn why and how a man’s preconception health is important.

Use #PCHchat and join in at 1pm EST.

We’ll be joined by other organizations and professionals for what is sure to be a very lively chat.

Feel free to ask questions. Hope to see you then!

The NICU dad – Superman has nothing on him

15
Jun
Posted by Barbara

This post is dedicated to all dads, in honor of Father’s Day.

kangaroo-care-dadFatherhood is not supposed to start in a NICU.

When the birth of your baby is unexpectedly early or if your child has medical issues, you may find yourself coping with the stress of having your baby in the hospital. The anxiety and fear about your baby’s special health care needs can be overwhelming. Add to that the emotions your partner may be experiencing, coordinating work, NICU visits, and possibly other children, and you have one difficult situation.

But, a NICU dad is strong and resilient.

He spends time in the NICU holding his baby skin to skin (kangaroo care). He sings and talks to his baby.

He asks questions and makes decisions about his baby’s medical care.Parents in NICU w baby R

He is reassuring and comforting to the mother of his child, as she physically and emotionally heals from pregnancy and childbirth, and copes with fluctuating hormones.

A NICU dad runs pumped breastmilk to the freezer, washes bottles and encourages mom to pump if she can.

If there are other children at home, dad becomes the coordinator of the home front. He makes lunches, runs kids to school, helps with homework, and reassures the children that mom will be home soon. Dad takes care of pets, cleans, grocery shops and hopefully delegates tasks to family members and friends to help out.

Through it all, it can be hard for a dad to take care of himself. He needs sleep, good food and breaks to exercise and relax. It’s important that he takes the time to re-fuel so that he can be the best champion for his baby that he can be. Relying on friends and family to help may not come naturally at first, but a NICU dad soon learns that it takes an army to get everything done.

Although becdad-with-preemie2oming a dad in the NICU was not the original plan, every path to fatherhood is unique. It has its own rewards and lessons. March of Dimes recognizes every dad’s efforts and dedication. We know that every dad is making a difference in his baby’s life. Dads are important, appreciated and very much loved!

Do you have a NICU dad you’d like to honor? Please share your story with us.

 

It takes two to tango: a man’s preconception health matters

13
Jun
Posted by Barbara

Sarah Verbiest, DrPH, MSW, MPHToday we welcome guest blogger Sarah Verbiest, DrPH, MSW, MPH, Director, The National Preconception Health and Health Care Initiative.

What is Men’s Preconception Health?

It’s National Men’s Health Month! A time to raise awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. What a great time to encourage guys to schedule their annual wellness visit and think about their daily health behaviors.

Men are often an afterthought when it comes to preconception care and sexual health conversations, if they are reached at all. To make it worse, messaging that has been directed to men is often under researched and ineffective. Women are often the focus when it comes to preconception health, but men are just as important! After all, it takes two to tango and create a child. A man’s reproductive health is an important component of his overall health and well-being.

The CDC recommends ten things that men can do to improve their reproductive health and wellness. Healthy guys are more likely to be able to reach for and achieve their life goals.

Here are some key steps men can take towards a healthy lifestyle from Everywoman Southeast:

Make a Plan and Take Action

Men should consult with their health care provider to discuss which contraceptive method is best for him and his partner based on overall health, age, frequency of sexual activity, number of partners, desire to have children in the future, and family history of certain diseases. Men absolutely can and should think about when, if and how many children they would like to have in their life. While there aren’t as many contraceptive choices for men as for women, men should learn about all the options available for their partner and be part of the conversation!

Get Tested!

Get screened and treated for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It is important to discuss the risk factors for STIs with a health care provider and ask about getting tested. It is possible to have an STI and not know it, because many do not cause symptoms. Men with STIs need to ask a provider about treatment to address symptoms, reduce progression, and decrease or eliminate the risk of transmission.

Prevent and Stop Drug Abuse

Smoking, illicit drug use, and binge drinking can cause infertility among men. Men are more likely than women to drink excessively. Excessive drinking is associated with significant increases in short-term risks to health and safety, and the risk increases as the amount of drinking increases. Additionally, a pregnant woman who is exposed to secondhand smoke has a 20% higher chance of giving birth to a baby with low birth weight than women who are not exposed. Talk to your health care provider if you need help quitting, and/or contact the National Quit Hotline 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Reach and Maintain a Healthy Weight

People who are overweight or obese have a higher risk for many serious conditions, as do people who are underweight. In addition, obesity among men is directly associated with increased male infertility. The key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight isn’t about short-term dietary changes. It’s about a lifestyle that includes healthy eating and regular physical activity. Men should be encouraged at every age to be physically active and make healthy food choices.

Prevent and Stop Violence

Violence affects people in all stages of life, and destroys relationships and families. Men, boys, fathers, uncles and brothers DO and MUST play an ACTIVE role in ending violence in all forms. There are a number of resources available to help engage men and youth in preventing violence, and especially, violence against women.

Get Mentally Healthy

Depression is under-diagnosed in men. Men are over four times more likely than women to commit suicide. Most men don’t realize that some of the physical symptoms they may experience -things like chronic pain and digestive problems – could actually be caused by a mental health issue such as depression, anxiety or stress. There are also some men who suspect that they have a problem, but suffer in silence, afraid to admit they need help. Since mental health is very important to one’s overall health and well-being, men of all ages should be encouraged to seek help from a professional when needed.

Recognizing and preventing men’s health issues across the life course is important since it impacts the lives of their families, and the overall community. Remember: The single most important way men can take care of themselves and the ones they love is to actively take part in their health care.

Show Your Love Today Campaign (003)Find more information about men’s role in preconception health and life planning here: www.showyourlovetoday.com.

Bringing men into the conversation!

The National Preconception Health and Health Care Initiative, a public-private partnership of 70+ national organizations working to advance preconception health, is gearing up to launch Show Your Love. March of Dimes has partnered with PCHHC on this first and only consumer-focused preconception health campaign. Show Your Love seeks to help young men and women understand the significance their choices and health have on their future families. The resource website and social media campaign is meant to spark action for consumers to “Show Your Love” – to themselves, their significant other, their family/future family – by taking care of their health today.

Sarah Verbiest, DrPH, MSW, MPH, is the Executive Director at UNC Center for Maternal & Infant Health, which provides direct clinical services to high risk mothers and infants, conducts health services research, coordinates statewide programs, and provides patient and health care professional education. She serves as the Director of The National Preconception Health and Health Care Initiative (PCHHC), a public-private partnership of over 70 organizations focused on improving the health of young women and men and any children they may choose to have. She coordinates the five workgroups within the PCHHC: Consumer, Clinical, Policy & Finance, Surveillance and Research, and Public Health. Sarah is a clinical associate professor at the UNC School of Social Work.

News Moms Need and @modhealthtalk win awards!

10
Jun
Posted by Barbara

s2016_dha_winner_printAw-shucks – the News Moms Need blog and @modhealthtalk Twitter handle each received a MERIT award in the 2016 Digital Health Awards competition! News Moms Need received the award in the Publications category while @modhealhtalk received the award in the Social Media category. Both the blog and Twitter account have won awards in prior years; we are happy to be honored once again.

As you probably are already aware, this blog provides posts on topics including preconception health, pregnancy, postpartum, prematurity, life in the NICU, infant health, birth defects, parenting a child with a disability, and infant loss. It covers everything from how to choose a sunscreen during pregnancy to understanding pregnancy risks and complications. Our team of bloggers seeks to present evidenced-based information in a conversational manner.

The @modhealthtalk Twitter handle specializes in providing up to date health content to consumers and engages them in Twitter chats on various topics related to the mission of the March of Dimes. If you are not currently following us on Twitter, please do!

The Digital Health Awards contest honors “the world’s best digital health resources.” Hundreds of local, state and national health-related organizations and companies enter the competition. March of Dimes is in good company, as winners include American Academy of Pediatrics, American Heart Association, Cigna, Cleveland Clinic, Drugs.com, GlaxoSmithKline, Health Net, Inc., Johns Hopkins Health System, National Cancer Institute, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Sharecare among others.

The March of Dimes is proud to be recognized once again as being among the best in the consumer health education field.

Transitioning from the school year to summer

08
Jun
Posted by Barbara

Family walking outdoorsIf your child has special needs, the transition from the structure of the school year to that of a summer schedule can be very difficult. Even if your child is not yet in school, he may be in an early intervention program, making him used to a certain predictable routine from September to June. Upsetting this applecart to move into a different environment (new therapists, buildings or even a summer camp) can throw your child off kilter. Add to that the thought of taking a family vacation, and the whole idea of facing these transitions can give you a headache.

Here are some posts to help you get through it all. The goal is to help you and your child enjoy these summer months.

Accommodations help vacationers with special needs lists different accommodations that hotels and public places offer individuals with special needs.

Vacationing with your child with special needs offers tips on how to make this HUGE transition less scary for your little one. With some preparation beforehand as well as on the road, the whole family can enjoy time together. This post provides resources on places to go, the golden rules of travel, and the all-important list of time-fillers. A must read.

How to find camps for children with special needs is a post that lists resources by camp specialty (based on a child’s condition or disability) and location. It is a great start if you are thinking you might still want to place your child in a camp this summer. Better yet, it is a springboard for preparing for next year.

Hopefully these posts will get you started on your way to a successful summer experience for your kids and you. If you have any tips to share, please do!

Find many other posts on Delays and Disabilities: How to get help for your child.

Have questions? Send them to AskUs@marchofdimes.org.