What is Chikungunya Fever: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Home Remedies

What is Chikungunya Fever?

Chikungunya is a mosquito-transmitted, self-limiting infection characterized by fever, joint pain, and rashes. It is not a fatal disease. Also reinfection is rare because once infected, the person gets life long immunity. Still, one should pay special attention towards its prevention because even after the patient recovers, joint pain may trouble him for several months and in some cases remains for a lifetime.

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya Fever

This disease was for the first time observed in Africa in 1952 but slowly it spread to other parts of Africa and Asia. Since then many outbreaks have been reported. In India too every year we hear a number of cases of Chikungunya. Recent reports show that this infection has also spread to Europe and America.

What is the Cause of Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya fever is a viral infection that is caused by Chikungunya virus. It spreads from human to human by the bite of infected female Aedes aegypti mosquito. This mosquito is predominantly found in tropical regions. It bites during the day time. They can just breed in even 2ml of water.

Cause of Chikungunya Fever

Cause of Chikungunya Fever

After the bite of an infected mosquito, it takes 4 to 8 days for the symptoms to appear. However the symptoms may also appear within the time periods of 3 to 12 days after the mosquito bite.

What are the Symptoms of Chikungunya Fever

The prominent symptoms of this disease are sudden onset of the high fever and severe joint pains. Other symptoms include rashes, muscle pain, weakness, headache, nausea, vomiting, and chills. Rarely mouth ulcers, conjunctivitis, and loss of taste and appetite are seen. Fever subsides in a couple of days, but joint pain may take several months to go or may remain for life long.

Symptoms of Chikungunya Fever

Symptoms of Chikungunya Fever

Many times the symptoms are mild and goes unrecognized. Symptoms of Chikungunya fever are very much similar to dengue fever and thus many times misdiagnosed. Occasionally there may be neurological, gastrointestinal and circulatory complications.

How is Chikungunya Fever Diagnosed

Viral culture is done on the first 3 days to detect the virus. The Chikungunya viral RNA is usually identified in the serum during the first week of the illness.

As the symptoms of Ctohikungunya fever are similar to dengue fever, it is very important to have a proper diagnosis. ELISA- a serological test is effective in confirming the presence of IgG and IgM antibodies which are produced by our body to fight against the Chikungunya virus.

Chikungunya Fever Diagnosed

Chikungunya Fever Diagnosed

In 3rd to 5th week of the illness, IgM antibody is highest. It may remain in the body for about 2 months. Common test done is PT-PCR. But the test performed depends on the volume and timing of the sample.

What is the Treatment of Chikungunya Fever

It is a self-limiting disease. Our immune system cures it in a couple of days. Antivirals are not much help in this case. However, your doctor may prescribe few medicines for symptomatic relief. Avoid taking aspirin. Better consult your doctor and avoid self-medication. Take proper rest and consume lots of fluids.

Eat foods rich in Vitamin C and vitamin E to boost your immunity and reduce inflammation and pain. Homeopathic and Ayurvedic treatments are found effective and you can go with them. Once you are recovered increase the intake of calcium and vitamin D rich foods.
Below are some home remedies to relieve the symptoms. They are natural ways of treatment and thus are totally safe.

What are the Home Treatment of Chikungunya Fever

1. Epsom salt bath- Due to the presence of magnesium sulfate, it is very effective in relieving pain and soreness. Add 2 tablespoons of the salt in your bathtub filled with warm water and soak yourself in it for half an hour.

2. Raw carrots- They are rich in vitamin A which is an antioxidant and make the immune system stronger’’, Thus helps to recover fast and prevents complications such as joint pain.

 Raw carrots

Raw carrots

3. Grapes- Eat seedless and dry grapes. Take it with cow’s milk.

Grapes

Grapes

4. Cool compress- Take some ice. Wrap it in a cheesecloth. Place it over the affected joint for a few minutes. This will decrease inflammation and pain.

5. Holy basil leaves- They not only reduce fever, but also improve the body immunity thus hastens the recovery. Take few holy basil leaves and add it to a cup of boiling water. Steep for a few minutes,Strain it, and then consume it.

6. Turmeric- Curcumin present in the turmeric acts as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric in a cup of water and consume it 2 times daily.

7. Red chili- It is very effective in reducing the inflammation and fever. Add it to your food while cooking.

Red chili

Red chili

8. Coconut water- It detoxifies the liver, where the virus of Chikungunya develops. So drink coconut water daily 2 times to fasten the recovery.

Coconut water

Coconut water


How can you Prevent Chikungunya Fever

There is no vaccination available to prevent Chikungunya. The best you can do is to prevent the bite of a mosquito. Use mosquito repellant creams or patches. Use mosquito nets. Keep your surroundings clean. Do not let water stand near your surroundings. Get rid of stagnant water bodies.

Do not throw tyres, coconut shells and other utensils that can hold water in open. Clean the water coolers and water pots regularly. Remember prevention is always better than cure.

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