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5 Things Every Pregnant Woman Should Know About the Zika Virus

5 Things Every Pregnant Woman Should Know About the Zika Virus

It was not long ago when the Zika Virus first came into the world picture. However, within a span of 1 year, the virus has rapidly spread across to close to 40 countries in the world. The risks and education of the Zika Virus are still going on, and it has become clear that the impact of the virus is more dangerous than it was anticipated before.

The Zika Virus was first found in South America but later it has traveled to many countries. The WHO has already announced emergency for the same. However, the most shocking part of the Zika Virus is that it can affect a pregnant woman and the fetus badly. As per the reports, Zika Virus can result in birth defects, and that can be dangerous in nature. It is therefore very important for every pregnant woman to know and understand about the Zika Virus.

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What is the Zika Virus?

Zika Virus is an insect-borne illness that can be transmitted primarily from Aedes mosquitoes. Zika is the name of a forest in Uganda where monkeys were found to be infected with this virus. It is named after the forest.

Why is it dangerous for pregnant women?

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If you are pregnant, or you are planning to conceive, then, the Zika Virus is possibly the worst name you can hear now. The dangerous impact of the virus can be immense starting from complexities during pregnancy, pregnancy loss, to a baby born with birth defects. The baby born with birth defects is called Microcephaly and has been attributed to the Zika Virus. There are two things that are very important here. The first is, if you are infected, then don’t try to conceive until you are completely cured. The impact of the virus on a non-pregnant person can be controlled and is often very minimal. However, if you are pregnant and unfortunately got infected by the virus, then it is important to be careful about everything you do. The report of pregnancy week by week should be monitored by the doctors.

Here are the things that you must know if you are a pregnant woman:

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1. Don’t travel there

The first thing that you must realize is that when you are pregnant, you must not travel to the countries that are known for the Zika Virus. Most of the countries that are known for the Zika Virus are in South America. It is always better to be safe than to exposure yourself to an unwanted risk.

2. No unprotected sex

You must be very careful about sex and intercourse when you are pregnant. The CDC has already confirmed that the Zika Virus can be transmitted sexually, and that is a great risk. If you are having sex with anyone who has come from an area where Zika Virus is prevalent, and then uses condoms. The medical experts, in fact, advise to use condoms or any other protected mode of sex during pregnancy, to stop the slightest chances of contracting the Zika Virus.

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3. Do not ignore

During the pregnancy, you must monitor your health very carefully. The symptoms of the Zika Virus are generally like a light flu, so a headache, low fever, rashes, muscle pain, and conjunctivitis are often ignored as normal conditions. However, any of these can be a potential symptom of the Zika Virus. It is always advised that the women should go for the regular health checkups even though there is currently no medical formula to assess the risk of the virus during pregnancy.

4. Diagnosis

It is very important to understand the fact that specific diagnosis of the Zika is not present. However, when it comes to the Zika Virus and pregnant women, there are certain things that should be remembered. The very first thing is that if you have visited any high-risk area for the Zika, then you must go through the diagnosis. It is carried out irrespective of the symptoms. The symptoms can be confusing for the diagnosis, and thus ultrasound is mostly carried out on the pregnant women. However, amniocentesis is followed after that if the report of ultrasound is inconclusive.

Conclusion

The government authorities advise certain risk measurements to counter the risks imposed by the Zika Virus. The majority of the measurements are for controlling exposure to mosquitoes. However, keep in mind that it has also been known to transmit through sexual contact as well. Stay vigilant!

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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