Why You Should Use Painkillers With Caution In Chikungunya?

Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral disease that causes fever, joint pain, and muscle aches. While the symptoms are generally not life-threatening, they can be severe and debilitating. One common approach to managing the symptoms of Chikungunya is the use of painkillers. However, it is crucial to exercise caution when using these medications to avoid potential complications and ensure optimal recovery.

This article explores why avoiding painkillers in the context of Chikungunya might be a prudent choice and suggests natural remedies to alleviate discomfort.

Understanding Chikungunya Symptoms
Chikungunya symptoms typically include fever, severe joint pain, muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue, and rash. The joint pain associated with Chikungunya is often intense and can persist for weeks or even months. This pain is a major source of discomfort for those affected, prompting many to seek relief through painkillers.

The Risks of Painkillers in Chikungunya
1. Gastrointestinal: Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), commonly used for pain relief such as ibuprofen can cause gastrointestinal issues such as stomach ulcers and bleeding. Given that Chikungunya can already impact the digestive system, introducing medications with potential side effects in this area might exacerbate existing problems.
2. Renal: Both NSAIDs and paracetamol, while effective for pain management, can pose risks to renal function. Chikungunya itself may affect the kidneys, making it crucial to avoid medications that could compound this risk.
3. Dengue Co-Infection: Chikungunya often coexists with other mosquito-borne diseases like dengue. Painkillers, especially NSAIDs, can increase the risk of bleeding, which is a concern in dengue cases. Avoiding painkillers minimizes the chances of complications in situations where co-infection is a possibility.
4. Masking Symptoms: Pain is a natural signal that something is wrong in the body. Relying heavily on painkillers may mask the severity of symptoms, potentially leading to delayed medical intervention and management.
5. Individual Variability: People react differently to medications, and what works well for one person may not be suitable for another. Pay attention to individual responses and consult a healthcare professional if unexpected side effects occur.

Things to Remember
-If you have been diagnosed with chikungunya or if you have an undiagnosed high-grade fever with body aches do not take aspirin, ibuprofen, or any other painkiller without your doctor’s approval.
-Taking these medicines may cause kidney or liver problems in the elderly and people with pre-existing kidney problems.
-Take paracetamol for fever as advised by the doctor.
-Take large amounts of fluids (3-4 liters/day) in the form of water, soup, milk, or juice.
-Keep a close watch on urine output. Low urine output could be an indicator of kidney problems.
-If you have severe loss of appetite or yellowish discoloration of eyes, it could indicate liver damage. Immediately consult your doctor for further evaluation.
-Consume food rich in vitamins and minerals to support the immune system and aid recovery.
-Apply a warm compress to affected joints to help reduce pain and stiffness.
-Give your body complete rest and do gentle exercises to maintain joint flexibility.

(The article is written by Monalisa Deka, Senior Health Content Editor)


1. National Guideline For Clinica Management of Chikanguniya. Ministry of Health & Welfare Govt. of India. 2016. Avaialble online: https://ncvbdc.mohfw.gov.in/WriteReadData/l892s/77728737401531912419.pdf
2. Chikungunya virus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2023. Available online:
3. Chikungunya. World Health Organization. 2023. Available online:
4. Doran C, Duits A, Gerstenbluth I, et al.What will the doctor give me, the same painkiller?”: a qualitative study exploring health-care seeking and symptoms self-management among patients for the treatment of long-term chikungunya disease. BMC Health Services Research. 2023. Available online: https://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12913-023-10254-8

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