Zika and the Flu, Health Experts tell You the Difference

The Flu season is right around the corner, and the Zika virus is now in the valley.

So, what do you need to know about the symptoms? Disease and virus experts tell us what we need to know. And the difference between the two diseases.

Hidalgo County Health and Human Services Director Eduardo Olivarez says that Influenza, Zika, Dengue and Mosquito born illnesses have similar symptoms.

He says it should all begin with avoiding the viruses. With the Influenza virus, get your flu shot. As it relates to Zika, make sure you are using repellent, wearing long sleeves as well as avoiding travel to places where Zika is prevalent.

Olivarez said, “The type of mosquito that we are looking at is called the Aedes Aegypti Mosquito and it’s range is not very far, it is only within half a mile of where it was born that it usually resides so most of the time it is going to stay within the local area so it is important to clean that area out.”

What happens when you’ve done neither and you start to feel sick? How do you distinguish the Zika virus from a mere case of the flu?

Dr. Joseph McCormick, Regional Dean-School of Public Health, said, “Mild fever, some flushing of the face, you can get a bit of redness in your eyes, and you may have some fever with a few chills. It differs from flu because Influenza is a respiratory virus. Zika is not a respiratory virus. It doesn’t cause you to cough, and it doesn’t produce the kind of runny nose and sore throat and that sort of thing that the flu causes.”

Dr. McCormick has studied viruses for years including Ebola and HIV in Africa. According to him, going to a clinic or family doctor to differentiate between these is not worth taking a chance on spreading the virus to others.

Dr. McCormick adds, “But going to the doctor isn’t going to change anything. The physician can’t do anything that will change that. It’s just time that will cause it go away or your immune system that will get rid of the virus.”

Dr. McCormick says those who are at a high risk and who should be concerned with contracting Zika are pregnant women since their unborn children could have problems with brain development.

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