Why Zika is a Big Deal
Zika causes birth defects! There is no vaccine to prevent Zika. There is no medication to treat it. I am not taking time to document these claims for this post. Would you please help me out on this? Just add a comment linking to authoritative sources.
I did see a post a day or two ago where a CDC doctor essentially stated that the medical establishment really didn’t know enough yet about this threat to state how big the problem can become nor how to best counter it. As I searched for that statement online, I could not find it again. It was so frank it amazed me. I hope you can find it.
Why Zika Requires Your Action
At this very moment, as you read this, somewhere in the world a pregnant woman is at risk of being bitten by a mosquito bearing the Zika virus. Governments and other organizations can not or will not move fast enough to save her baby.
I know. It sounds alarmist. And it is. I am alarmed. I hope you will be too. If it were your wife or sister or daughter or cousin or aunt or niece or mom at risk of being bitten, would you be content to wait until governments and medical institutions figured out the exact level of risk and decided what to do about it? I am not.
What do I think should be done? First, I think the Catholic Church should launch a major campaign NOW to promote every reasonable form of birth control possible in the countries at risk. But do I think the Catholic Church is going to start passing out condoms tomorrow? Probably not.
Next, I think all politicians at all levels should look at this problem as though they were trying to save their own baby or the baby of a family member or friend. They should take speedy action even if it might put their political future in jeopardy. That will happen tomorrow if tomorrow is the day hell freezes over.
Then, there is what could be done by the leading philanthropists of the world. Let this be a call out specifically to Bill and Melinda Gates: Please use some of the knowledge you have gained in your awesome fight against malaria to tackle the Zika problem. Please do it now! Do I think that can happen? Definitely. And I believe there are lots and lots of other philanthropists world wide who will tackle this problem as soon as it is on their radar scope.
My belief though is that what you and I, we the people, can do is the essential element in the battle against Zika. What can you do? First, be convinced that of all the causes in the world it is those that impact the health and well being of children that are the most important. I believe that if you do the numbers, you will find that investing in children is the best investment a person or society can make. Second, you can inform yourself. Learn more about this than I know, which shouldn’t take you long. Then take your stand and share it. If you save one baby form Zika birth defects, you change the future forever. You will have made your mark on eternity.
Things to Do Now If You or a Pregnant Loved One is At Immediate Risk of Zika Infection
The best thing to do, if possible, is to move to an area where there Zika risk does not exist or is minimal. If this is not possible, then create a Zika shelter where you are and stay in it until you deliver. Even if neither you nor any loved one is pregnant and at immediate risk, please read the following list and add comments to give more specifics on how to implement each item in the list, e.g. sources of how-to documents and supplies.
- Use mosquito repellents that are safe for pregnant women.
- Live in an air conditioned environment with windows and doors kept closed if possible. If you can only manage to air-condition one room, do so, and stay there as much as you possibly can.
- Sleep under a mosquito net canopy.
- Make sure all windows and doors are equipped with tight fitting mosquito-proof screens in good repair.
- Wear mosquito resistant clothing if you have to go out.
- Eliminate mosquito breeding grounds, such as anything that allows water to collect and stagnate.
- Install mosquito killing lights inside and outside where possible.
- Eat a mosquito repelling diet.
A List of Seven Things Everyone Should Do Now to Combat Zika Birth Defects.
- Don’t get pregnant or get anyone pregnant until you know the risks of Zika.
- Use your personal and social network relationships to encourage pregnancy avoidance. Every woman who might possibly become pregnant should learn enough about Zika to make an informed decision about her risks. Imagine the grief of those moms in the US who contracted the Zika virus while travelling abroad. Imagine the chagrin of the mom in Hawaii who gave birth to a baby impacted by the Zika virus. And promote the idea for the guys in your networks that “Friends don’t get friends pregnant until the risk of Zika is known.”
- Put some pressure on your elected officials to get informed and take action.
- If you are a Catholic, petition your church, from the local Parrish all the way to the Vatican, to take action. Most countries where Zika is spreading rapidly are home to many Catholics.
- Find out which non-profit organizations are doing the best work at fighting Zika and support them with your money, your time, and support through your social network and media connections. Since I do not know which organizations these are, it would be great if you could add comments to this post that identify some organizations that are leading the charge.
- Find out what you yourself can do to provide a refuge NOW for pregnant women at risk of Zika infection. For example, if you have a friend or a relative who is pregnant and living in an area of high Zika risk and you live in a part of the world where Zika is not a threat, invite that person to come take shelter with you NOW. Couch crashing is worth it if it saves a baby.
- Add things to this list that you think should be done. We need the world’s greatest minds, imaginations and entrepreneurial spirits working on this. NOW.
One Thing to Do if You Are a Native Speaker of a Language Other than English.
My friend who is pregnant just read the draft of this post. She found it informative. Then she added that it should be translated into Spanish. I would like to add French and Portuguese to that list. In fact, why not every language, especially all those spoken anywhere in range of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is the one that spreads the Zika virus? As I searched the web for info on Zika, I saw a lot of posts in Brazilian Portuguese. Sadly that is a language I don’t know.
Who Am I and Why I Care
I am a guy who thinks kids are the best place to invest our resources, both societal and personal. As mentioned earlier, I have a close friend who is pregnant and at risk of exposure to Zika, and she had never heard of the danger. I spend lots of time in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. I have never yet heard the local Mexican media address the Zika problem.
Also published on Medium.