Chikungunya is a type of viral fever caused by the bite of infected Aedes Mosquito (the one also causing Dengue Fever). Here are some important facts that you should know about this viral disease:
Signs And Symptoms
-The classical symptoms develop after an incubation period of 7-10 days.
-The affected person will have high grade fever, severe joint pains, red eyes, sore throat and rash.
-The fever lasts for 5-7 days.
-Joint pains are debilitating, more so in the morning. It may last for upto 3-6 months and in rare cases for upto years.
-Unlike dengue the bleeding risk is much less as typical platelet fall is not seen.
-Risk to life is very less and recovery is generally complete.
-Diagnosis is mainly clinical and with the help of laboratory investigations like serology (IgM & IgG) and PCR technique.
-IgM test takes 5-7 days to turns positive and can stay positive for upto 6 months.
-IgG test turns positive in 7-10 days and can remain positive for months together.
-PCR test is a relatively expensive test but it can detect the infection in first 7 days of the disease.
-If a person has signs and symptoms of chikungunya he/she should not panic.
-Take plenty of fluids ( 3-4 liters in a day).
-No specific treatment is available for chikungunya. Tablet paracetamol is the safest for fever and as a painkiller.
-Do sponging with lukewarm water if fever persists.
Danger Signs To Watch For
You should immediately contact your doctor in case of following signs and symptoms:
-Bleeding from any site/black stools
-Poor oral intake
-Decreased urine output
-Altered mental status
-Fall in platelet count or increase in PCV (packed cell volume) in the blood count test.
Ways To Prevent Chikungunya
The mosquito is active in the daytime, usually more in the early mornings and late evenings. Here are important precautions that you should take:
Prevent Water Stagnation
Look around the house and get rid of any source of water stagnation since the mosquitoes breed in stagnating water. Drain your buckets of water after bathing or washing ensuring that mugs and buckets are dry. Drain the water from water coolers and keep it dry. Do not over-water potted plants to prevent water stagnation in the soil
Use Mosquito Nets
Use mosquito nets at night to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes. You can use them during the day for babies and elderly who tend to take a nap in the afternoon. You should cover up and close any holes in the windows and doors from where mosquitoes might enter. Wire mesh screens can be used on windows to block out mosquitoes.
Apply Mosquito Repellents
Use mosquito repellent cream especially for kids who go out to play. Mosquito repellent liquidators are also widely available in the market and useful for driving out mosquitoes from the house
Use full sleeved clothes and full length pants as much as possible so that most areas of your body are covered. In case, you have kids, take special care to ensure their bodies are covered as much as possible.
So, if you or anyone in your family develops high grade fever, joint pains and muscle aches make sure that you remain watchful and have paracetamol round the clock. Chikungunya is not a life threatening disease, so do not panic. If the symptoms persist or tend to worsen consult your doctor.