About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill (i.e., develop Zika).
The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.
The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.
Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for a few days but it can be found longer in some people.
Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
Deaths are rare.
The symptoms of Zika are similar to those of dengue and chikungunya, diseases spread through the same mosquitoes that transmit Zika.
See your healthcare provider if you develop the symptoms described above and have visited an area where Zika is found.
If you have recently traveled, tell your healthcare provider when and where you traveled.
Your healthcare provider may order blood tests to look for Zika or other similar viruses like dengue or chikungunya.
No vaccine or medications are available to prevent or treat Zika infections.
Treat the symptoms:
Get plenty of rest.
Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
Take medicine such as acetaminophen to relieve fever and pain.
Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen. Aspirin and NSAIDs should be avoided until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of hemorrhage (bleeding). If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.
If you have Zika, prevent mosquito bites for the first week of your illness.
During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites.
An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.
Can taking vitamin D supplements or spending more time in the sun help prevent Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia?
Maybe. But it's too soon to say for certain. New research suggests people with very low levels of vitamin D in their blood, known as vitamin D deficiency, are more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
For example, a large 2014 study published in Neurology showed people with extremely low blood levels of vitamin D were more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia than those with normal vitamin D levels. But it's important to point out that the association between vitamin D deficiency and dementia risk is only observational at this point. More research is needed to show cause and effect.
Vitamin D is vital to bone metabolism, calcium absorption and other metabolic processes in the body. Its role in brain function, cognition and the aging process is still unclear. Some studies suggest vitamin D may be involved in a variety of processes related to cognition, but more research is needed to better understand this relationship.
Most of our vitamin D is produced within the body in response to sunlight exposure. Vitamin D occurs naturally in only a few foods, including fatty fish and fish liver oils. The biggest dietary sources of vitamin D are fortified foods, such as milk, breakfast cereals and orange juice. Vitamin D supplements are also widely available.
Vitamin D deficiency is common among older adults, partially because the skin's ability to synthesize vitamin D from the sun decreases with age.
It's too early to recommend increasing your daily dose of vitamin D in hopes of preventing dementia or Alzheimer's disease. But maintaining healthy vitamin D levels can't hurt and may pay off in other ways, such as reducing the risk of osteoporosis. According to the Institute of Medicine, the recommended daily dose of Vitamin D is 600 International Units (IU) per day for adults under age 70 and 800 IU per day for adults over 70.
More studies are needed to determine if vitamin D deficiency is indeed a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease and dementia, and if treatment with vitamin D supplements or sun exposure can prevent or treat these conditions.
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