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The Zika virus caused international panic in 2015 and 2016, after a major outbreak and the realization that it can cause serious birth defects. Although the spread of Zika has largely been contained, cases do still appear, and there have been records of infections in Texas during 2017. Because kids are more vulnerable to the impacts of Zika than adults, it is especially important for parents to be vigilant about the symptoms of infection and to take steps to prevent it. If your child shows sign of a Zika infection, seek urgent care for a definitive diagnosis as soon as possible. Here is a look at what parents need to know about the Zika virus.

Is Zika a new virus?

Zika is not a new virus, but a concentrated increase in infections and the related risk of birth defects suddenly made it front page news. Because the stories about Zika have died down, many people incorrectly believe that the virus has been eradicated. Zika is still around, and people are still getting infected. The rates at which infections are occurring is just much less. Between January and June of 2017, Texas had 12 new reported Zika infections. Between 2015 and 2016, there were 323 cases in Texas.

What are the symptoms of Zika in kids?

In some cases, Zika doesn’t have any symptoms at all. For kids, when the virus does cause symptoms, rash, fever, pink eye, headaches, and joint pain are the most common signs. Although Zika doesn’t respond to antibiotics, kids should still see the pediatrician if you suspect Zika. Your child’s doctor can make a diagnosis and help you manage the symptoms for your child’s comfort.

How can I protect my child from Zika?

Because Zika is spread by mosquitoes, preventing bites is the best protection. Use insect repellant as directed when your child is outdoors, and dress him or her in clothing that covers the arms and legs. Get rid of standing water near your home, which attracts mosquitoes.

Pediatrics After Hours can provide a fast diagnosis and urgent care if you think your child has Zika. Find out which of our four after-hours care locations in the DFW area is convenient for you by calling 972-355-2273.

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