Pharmacist Role in Zika Preparedness
Summertime and warmer weather mean kids are out of school with summer vacations planned; it’s wedding season with honeymoons to follow; it’s also mosquito season. With mosquitos comes the threat of the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease1 with mild symptoms of fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis that can last from a few days to a week2; Zika has also been linked to birth defects. The threat of Zika brings the opportunity for your pharmacy to become a resource with pharmacist counseling and patient preparedness to your traveling customers.
*Offer Zika virus informational brochures and travel tips.
If you have customers traveling to a destination with Zika virus transmissions reported, (click here for an up-to-date list) remind them to pack or purchase mosquito repellent products containing DEET, IR3535, or eucalyptus oil as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).3 The Zika-carrying mosquitos usually bite during the daytime, so it is also important to wear clothing that covers all body parts, and to stay indoors where there is air conditioning or at least screens on the doors and windows.4
*Stock up on mosquito repellent.
Scott Weaver, a virologist from the University of Texas Medical Branch, urges anyone traveling in the Zika affected-zones to be conscientious with mosquito repellent not just while there, but also for two weeks after they return, to be sure that they do not accidentally transmit the disease to mosquitos in the United States.1