The Zika Monster

Everywhere you turn, you hear a buzzing sound–that high-pitched synchronicity peeling through your eardrum deep into the dead of night.

That’s me.

Every night.

Even when there’s nothing really there.

I had planned to begin this blog post by focusing solely on education because I’m trying so hard to stick to the just to that topic of which I’ve dedicated my last 10 years of life to, but I just can’t do it.

See, I live in Florida, in particular Miami.

Miami is all over the news along with the earthquake in Italy and the campaign for the presidency.

In Miami, however, the Zika virus has dominated the attention of everyone.

Walking the campus on the first day of school, I saw students wearing long sleeves and smelling like Off. I just smiled and asked, “How are you today?”

Normally, I’d get an “OK” or a “Really tired” or even a “Super happy” every once in a while. But, this time, I just got “Hot.”

I felt their pain as a parent and a teacher. I knew somewhere my own children reeked of Off, so I just rolled my eyes at myself.

What is Zika?

The virus delivers flu-like symptoms, lots of achiness, and a rash. Pregnant women seem to be the worst victims because of the possible effects on the fetus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people don’t usually get sick enough to even go to the hospital.

But, everyone here has already begun to panic. I received several texts telling me to use the strongest repellent possible and every time I look on Facebook, someone’s posting something about Zika. They really love giant, digitally enhanced photos of the mosquitoes with rounded, red bellies.

zika1

Of course, though, it’s the news that always sends us into a frenzy—talking, stressing, watching, then spraying ourselves with dangerous chemicals, rarely leaving the house, but when we do we smell like mosquito spray and we’re sweating in our long-sleeve shirts and pants.

Then, as a parent, we start to worry about our children.

We contemplate insane questions such as Should I send them to school? Should I demand that they don’t participate in P.E.? Should I send them with a can of bug spray so they can re-apply it like sunscreen? Should I keep them from playing sports?

An even more pressing question for many parents especially in Miami might be Should I have my child switch schools to an area deemed “less contaminated”?

Propaganda?

We begin obsessing, only to find that we all could be infected with Zika because we all might not even show signs of the virus let alone be tested for it.

And, we all know that’s the truth down deep inside, behind our collective, paranoid mindset and the media’s ability to control that.

We should take control of our situation and dismiss the rest of the jolts of information once we know what we need to know. At least, that’s what I plan to do.

Out of all the news reports and speculation on the virus, I just read a post that reveals the insanity we are experiencing around the world and over here in Miami.

The post Propaganda Machine Takes Aim at Zika Virus compares the media coverage and viewer reaction to the bird flu and Ebola. It also breaks down the facts into digestible chunks so you understand what’s really going on as opposed to panicking.

I consider myself a fairly logical person, but I’m emotional when it comes to my children, just like most parents. That’s why it’s so important to remember that monsters live mostly in our heads.

Written by Lisa Chesser

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10 thoughts on “The Zika Monster”

  1. Did you ever see the Michael Crichton movie “The Andromeda Strain”? The strain of virus contracted had a life cycle and over time rendered itself harmless. The latest strain of Zika virus is also smewhat mutating. There is a baby born with the virus but has side effects and no sign of cranial damage. Hopefully this virus will wear itself out and disappear before more infants and adults are affected by its deleterious effects. Yake care for yourself and your family.

    1. No, I never saw it, but I will look for it now. Hopefully, yes, it will die out like so many other viruses. In the mean time, we’ve actually stopped using so much mosquito repellant because we’re having allergic reactions to it both on the skin and from inhaling the fumes.

  2. The problem is the media. The default position is always panic! wether it is Mulsims or microbes – let’s just all panic! There ‘s no sense of proportion in American reporting. There are no real facts – just uneducated reactions. Add you own children into the mix and it becomes a nightmare. One can become obsessed with the threats of a virus whilst ignoring the perils of crossing the road. Hang in there.

    1. I completely agree. We have the media vying for attention and then we have the rest of us on social media on top of the fact that we as parents have a way of blowing things out of proportion. I was actually reprimanded by several friends and family for allowing one of my children to attend a school in the Wynwood area of Miami where the discovery of Zika caused a panic here. According to her, there are no mosquitoes there now. But, they’re all over the rest of Miami.

  3. It’s always the same with the media (I don’t listen even to the news). The panic is usually worse than the source of the panic 🙂 I think the most important is to stay centered , try to find the best possible solution and believe that everything will be ok

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