Contributed by: Rachana Arya
Chikungunya is a viral disease that is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. It is often misdiagnosed because it is clinically similar to Zika and dengue fever. Once considered a disease of the tropics, more and more cases of chikungunya have recently been documented in various countries around the world.
This blog answers frequently asked questions and aims to provide important facts and information about the disease.
FAQ # 1: What are the common symptoms of chikungunya?
The most common symptoms of infection are:
- Joint pain
- muscle pain
- Joint swelling
FAQ # 2: How much fever does Chikungunya denote?
Chikungunya virus symptoms are similar to other infections such as dengue fever. Symptoms usually appear a few days later after a mosquito bite. The most common signs and symptoms are: Fever (up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit).
FAQ # 3: How long does it take to fully recover from this disease?
The majority of people make a full recovery, with acute symptoms resolving within three to ten days. However, joint discomfort can last for a long time. Studies have shown that in some people, 30 to 70% of people have persistent joint pain months or years after the first infection. Chikungunya complications rarely result in death, although the infection can cause serious problems in older people with other comorbid conditions.
FAQ # 4: Is Chikungunya Contagious?
Like most mosquito-borne diseases, the virus can only be transmitted from person to person through blood-to-blood contact, such as a mosquito bite or a blood transfusion with contaminated blood. Touching or caring for an infected patient has no chance of becoming infected with chikungunya.
FAQ # 5: Can chikungunya be transmitted from mother to child?
Chikungunya virus can rarely be transmitted from mother to newborn at the time of birth.
FAQ # 6: Can Breastfeeding Pass the Virus to the Child?
The results of various studies have confirmed that breastfeeding does not infect babies with Chikungunya virus. Given the numerous benefits of breastfeeding, mothers are advised to breastfeed even in regions where Chikungunya virus is widespread.
FAQ # 7: How does chikungunya affect the brain?
Chikungunya virus, transmitted by mosquitoes, can lead to serious neurological complications such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
Some of the less common syndromes and diseases associated with chikungunya include:
- Seizures with or without a fever
- Behavior changes
- Sensorineural hearing loss
- Cerebellar inflammation
- Third nerve paralysis
FAQ # 8: Does Movement Help With Chikungunya Joint Pain?
Stretching and other flexibility exercises can also help improve muscle mobility. While exercise can help relieve chikungunya pain, placing a cold pack on the affected area can also help.
FAQ No. 9: Can you get chikungunya twice?
No. Based on the available evidence, antibodies responsible for protecting humans develop after pre-infection, which typically provide lifelong immunity.
FAQ No. 10: What fruits are good for chikungunya?
Fruits loaded with multiple nutrients like mousami, pomegranate, banana, apple, pear, etc. help control symptoms. Papaya is highly recommended because the platelet count drops quickly.
FAQ # 11: What shouldn’t be eaten in Chikungunya?
It is advisable to eat non-vegetarian foods and switch to leafy green vegetables as they are low in calories and full of vitamins that are essential for regeneration of the body without overwhelming the system. Barley (sattu) and soups should also be included in the diet if possible, as they detoxify the liver.
FAQ # 12: What is the best home remedy for chikungunya?
Some home remedies that can be used to cure chikungunya include:
- Epsom salt bath (Sendha salt)
- Coconut water
- Tulsi (basil leaves)
- Sunflower seeds and honey
FAQ # 13: Is Coconut Water Good For Chikungunya?
Coconut water helps detoxify the body and keep you hydrated during chikungunya fever.
FAQ # 14: What are the long-term effects of chikungunya?
The most common long-term manifestations of chikungunya are:
- Persistent chronic joint pain
- Morning joint stiffness
- muscle pain
- Joint swelling
FAQ # 15: What happens if Chikungunya is left untreated?
If left untreated, chikungunya can have a number of consequences, including fever, weakness, and severe joint pain.
FAQ # 16: Is there a vaccine for chikungunya?
There is no vaccination or antiviral drug treatment to protect against Chikungunya virus. The easiest approach to avoiding chikungunya infection is to avoid mosquito bites and take preventive measures to avoid mosquitos from multiplying.
FAQ # 17: What are the steps to prevent chikungunya?
The best way to prevent chikungunya is:
- Take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from mosquito bites
- Use insect repellent
- Wear light colored clothing
- Wear long sleeved shirts and pants / jeans
- Take measures to control mosquitoes both indoors and outdoors
FAQ # 18: What test is done for chikungunya?
The definitive diagnosis of chikungunya can only be made through blood tests. Detection of Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) or viral RNA is the primary laboratory test used to diagnose the infection. The sample is taken less than 6 days after the onset of the disease.
Although rarely life-threatening, symptoms can be severe, debilitating, and cause long-term pain. Therefore, if you suspect chikungunya symptoms, it is important to see a doctor immediately to rule out dengue fever, as the symptoms of both are mimicked.
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