Zika Virus infections: Symptoms and Remedies
The Zika Virus is a deadly threat spreading to new areas of the world, so it’s becoming even more important to understand everything you can about the symptoms and remedies, including the use of papaya, vitamin C, hydrogen peroxide, curcumin, Echinacea, cat’s claw, zinc, selenium, and Chinese skullcap.
One of the most frightening outbreaks of disease in recent years has come in the form of the Zika Virus. This virus was largely unknown outside of the equatorial belt of Africa until roughly 2007; the name is derived from the Zika Forest in Uganda, where the virus was first isolated in the 1940s. The virus, scientifically speaking, is in the Flavivirus genus, and is spread through mosquitoes in the Aedes genus, which is commonly found in subtropical regions. The virus is closely related to dengue fever and West Nile Virus, both in its symptoms and its method of transmission. Mosquitoes bite an infected person and then infect the next 1-5 people in the same “blood meal”. Zika virus can also be transferred through sexual activity, although this is a less common means of transmission.
However, the Zika virus has proven to have additional complications, particularly as it spread and grew within new ecosystems in the past decade. For people that have been infected with the Zika virus, sometimes the symptoms are mild or nonexistent, but the virus can be passed from mother to unborn baby, often resulting in brain damage, microcephaly and other birth defects. This is where the real terror of Zika virus comes in. The first way to avoid Zika virus is to stay away from subtropical areas of the world where known outbreaks have occurred. If you are planning those sorts of trips, it would be highly unwise to do if you are pregnant or planning on getting pregnant in the near future. Also, in order to provide your doctor with a full medical history, it is essential that you can recognize the symptoms of Zika, even if they are mild.
Zika Virus Symptoms
As mentioned, Zika virus usually presents itself like a mild form of dengue fever, but at other times, the symptoms can be more severe. At some point within the first two weeks of being infected, you may present with some of the following symptoms.
- Mild Rash
- Muscle and Joint Pain
- Slight Fever
These symptoms are easy to mistake for other conditions, but if you are in a high-risk area and begin to show these symptoms without a clear alternative explanation or diagnosis, it might be in your best interest to seek out the advice of a doctor. If you are diagnosed or have the risk of being exposed, women should wait at least 8 weeks before trying to conceive, whereas men should wait upwards of six months, as the virus can persist for longer periods in the semen.
Remember, there is no medication or vaccine that can protect against Zika. Once you have been exposed, or if you’re pregnant and have become infected, the results can be terrible. Prevention is Key. However, if you do happen to be diagnosed with Zika virus, there are some important natural remedies to consider.
Zika Virus Remedies
Papaya Juice: One of the most popular home remedies for dengue fever is papaya juice, and considering the closeness of these two viruses, papaya juice is a common suggestion for the treatment of Zika as well. You crush up papaya leaves and extract the juice in this way, diluting with water if necessary. The rich blend of antioxidants and powerful enzymes in papaya, particularly papain, can help boost the immune system, increase blood platelet count, and eliminate the aches and pain of the infection. However, papain can be dangerous for fetuses, so this remedy should not be used by women who are pregnant.
Cat’s Claw: The most important thing to know about cat’s claw is that this ancient herb is packed with certain alkaloids that increase the strength and resilience of your immune system. By increasing the ability of your white blood cells to absorb and neutralize pathogens, cat’s claw is an ideal aid for Zika virus infections. You can consume cat’s claw in tincture, capsule or extract form.
Curcumin: The active ingredient of turmeric, curcumin, is one of the most powerful antioxidants that we have identified in readily available food, and its ability to increase the strength of the immune system makes it a valuable tool against Zika. Curcumin is also a stimulant, increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation throughout the body, making it easier to eliminate the virus and its symptoms quickly.
Vitamin C: When you are suffering from any type of infection, it’s usually due to your immune system being compromised or distracted in some way. The fastest way to get your immune system back in order is to increase your vitamin C intake. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, stimulates white blood cell production, and is an integral part of regrowth and repair of damaged parts of the body. If you’re suffering from Zika, add vitamin C-rich foods, such as papaya, broccoli, bell peppers, strawberries, kiwi and cauliflower to your diet!
Garlic: The legendary powers of garlic against viral, bacterial and fungal infections are well known, which makes garlic a popular and readily available remedy for Zika virus. The active ingredient in garlic, allicin, is able to strengthen the immune system and eliminate the symptoms of the virus, such as fevers and aching muscles. Garlic extract, supplements, or powder all work effectively for this virus.
Chinese Skullcap: When it comes to anti-viral herbs, few are as strong as Chinese skullcap, which has been a part of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. If you have been diagnosed with Zika virus or suspect that you have contracted it, this herb can rapidly eliminate the pathogens and get you back to normal quickly.
Echinacea: Herbal antivirals are important tools when combating a subtle and potentially devastating infection like Zika. Echinacea has been used for thousands of years to improve the strength of the immune system and reduce inflammation throughout the body. You can brew Echinacea tea or take supplements directly to push back against the Zika infection, making this an effective prevention and treatment method.
Selenium-Rich Foods: Aside from vitamin C, our immune system would be unable to function without selenium, an essential mineral that many people overlook. Selenium ensures the proper function and deployment of the immune system, particularly against viruses. Selenium even acts as an antioxidant in some contexts, so it can do wonders against the Zika virus. Selenium-rich foods include Brazil nuts, tuna, sunflower seeds, oysters, turkey and sardines.
Zinc-Rich Foods: Another key components of our immune system strength and health is zinc. Without zinc, our “first responders” of the immune system wouldn’t act as quickly when seeking out bacteria and viruses. Zinc is also essential for the formation of new proteins and cells, which means that it aids in repair and recovery following an infection. Zinc-rich foods include oysters, pumpkin seeds, veal, beef, flax seeds and shrimp.
A Final Word of Warning: As mentioned above, many of the symptoms of Zika virus may be mild, but the effects can truly be devastating, particularly for an expectant mother or for couples who are trying to get pregnant. If you identify any unusual symptoms, or have traveled to a high-risk area, you should consult a doctor to determine whether you have been infected. Using these home remedies is an option for those without pregnancy concerns, and once you have spoken to a medical professional.