Let us help you avoid infection.
With the Olympics quickly approaching this week, the one thing that seems to be on everyone’s minds isn’t the world-class athleticism that’s about to go down in Rio…
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Or all the gold-medal-winning faces we’re about to see…
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So much so that athletes from around the world — mostly golfers, but also basketball players and cyclists — have given up their chance at winning gold over concerns that they might get infected. Meanwhile, lots of other spectators getting ready to fly down are probably wondering, “Is it really worth the risk?”
The answer: It depends. There are definitely some things to consider before going to a country where Zika is especially prevalent. Even if your front row seat to the games is on your living room couch, this list will help you understand what’s really going on with Zika in Rio.
Stay home if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant soon.
Please, please, please don’t go. Trust us, you’re better off skipping out on this one. And that’s because the Zika virus poses the highest risk to women who are pregnant or may soon become pregnant.
“The [main] concern is that if a pregnant woman gets infected, it increases the risk of a very specific kind of birth defect called microcephaly,” Dr. Pritish Tosh, an infectious disease expert with the Mayo Clinic told BuzzFeed Health. A baby is born with microcephaly when their brain doesn’t fully develop during pregnancy, which places them at a higher risk for developmental delays and intellectual disabilities, among other health issues.
Health experts still aren’t exactly sure of how many Zika-infected pregnant women go on to have kids with microcephaly, but studies have shown a direct link between Zika infection and the birth defect. Tosh says that the risk is significant enough for the CDC to recommend all pregnant women avoid traveling to areas with Zika unless absolutely necessary.
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