Do’s and don’ts during chikungunya

Chikungunya is a mosquito transmitted viral disease that causes serious discomfort in the body as well as a bunch of other symptoms and may turn fatal unless treated in time. Just like Dengue and Malaria, cases of chikungunya steeply increases during monsoon as well as the pre and post monsoon period when the temperature and humidity in most of the places across India are quite favorable for the growth and thriving of the Chikungunya virus and their vector Aedes mosquitoes.    

If there is news of break out of Chikungunya in your area, it becomes really important to take serious precautionary measures, to save yourself and your family from this serious illness. If you or someone in your family has got chikungunya, it is important to follow the next Dos and Don’ts in order to restrict the spreading of the disease and also to ensure quick cure of the patient. Before we get to the Dos and Don’ts first let us take a brief look at the symptoms of this disease.

Symptoms of chikungunya

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  • High fever is one of the first symptoms observed in patients of chikungunya. If you or someone in your family is running high fever for over 24 hours, get yourself checked by a doctor immediately.
  • Severe joint pain along with joint swelling is the other symptom that is quite exclusive to chikungunya. You might not notice the swelling of the joints at the very beginning but severe joint pain is sure to be there along with high fever in case of chikungunya infection.
  • Muscle pain along with joint pain can also be observed in some patients. 
  • Persistent Headache that does not seem to ease with normal analgesic medications is the other common symptom of chikungunya.
  • In some patients with chikungunya, red rashes might also appear on the skin.

Do’s

  1. One can apply cold compresses in order to reduce pain and inflammation to some extent. The cold application helps to soothe the skin but don’t apply it directly on the skin, wrap it in a towel and then use it for your skin.
  2. Even though it is very clearly suggested to take rest during the time but you can perform mild exercises but only after complete bed rest of 7 days has been duly done. Since the muscles around the joints become weak and stiff so the exercises can help you get rid of the pain. 10 minutes of exercising is more than enough and good for the body.
  3. During Chikungunya it is very common to experience rashes and itchiness so one should use creams and oils that could keep the skin moisturised. But only go for lotions or oils that have been prescribed by the doctor and the ones that have a soothing effect on the skin.

Don’ts

  1. Don’t be too casual on the mosquitoes breeding somewhere in or around your house and find the possible places that could cause such breeding.
  2. Don’t forget to apply mosquito repellent cream whenever you head outside because you never know.
  3. Don’t try to act a doctor all by yourself and be vigilant to every symptoms and report it to the doctor.

Do’s during chikungunya

If chikungunya is spreading in your locality and you or someone in your family has all or some of the above symptoms, it is important to do the following without wasting time,

Visit a doctor

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To be confirmed about the infection it is important to run few tests. So, first of all visit a doctor who will carry out a physical checkup and then will send your blood for testing for the infection. Chikungunya cannot be cured with medications but medicines can be really helpful to control the symptoms and also to ensure that the infection does not take turn for anything worst.

Complete bed rest is advised

Chikungunya can make you severely weak. It affects the joints as well as the muscles in the worst way and might lead to sudden numbness of the muscles or joints resulting into sudden collapse. So, if you have chikungunya, opt for complete bed rest. It will also help with the weakness as well as the recovery.

Use mosquito net

If you or someone in the family is affected by chikungunya, it is important to keep him or her within a mosquito net for most of the times of the day. It will keep the patient safe from further mosquito bites and will also stop the spread of the disease. Also try to avoid taking the patient to any public place. Aedes mosquito biting a chikungunya patient might carry the germ to a healthy person and infect him. So, take maximum precautions to ensure that mosquitoes do not bite the patient.

Wear lose fitting and body covering clothes

It is recommended for chikungunya patients to wear body covering and lose fitting clothes. Body covering, lose fitting clothes add an extra layer of protection on the skin and make it difficult for the mosquitoes to reach the skin of the patient.       

Take nutritious but simple diet

There are no particular restrictions in diet for patient of chikungunya. The infection might upset the digestive system and hence it is best for the patient to opt for a simple diet. However, make sure that the diet is rich in fruits, vegetables and adequate amount of proteins. A diet rich in easy digestible proteins can be most helpful to overcome the weakness caused by the chikungunya infection. Also keep the amount of oil and spices less in the diet, in order to make it easy digestible. 

Increase fluid intake

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Patient with chikungunya runs the risk of serious dehydration. Hence once a person is diagnosed with chikungunya it is really important to increase his or her total fluid intake. Chikungunya causes serious weakness and if there is even a bit of dehydration in the body, the weakness can take a worst turn. So, drink sufficient water at frequent intervals and also include fresh fruits, juices and soups in your diet.

Repeat the blood test

For chikungunya patients it is really important to keep a regular check on the total blood platelet counts to know if the condition is subsiding. Repeated blood test every 2 days until the fever has subsided is recommended for the patient. Unless the patient is staying in a hospital facility, it is important that he takes the best care to ensure that the blood test is done every 2 days, till the fever subsides.

For the surroundings

While the above Dos are vital to ensure quick recovery of the patient, you should follow the next as well to ensure that the breakout is controlled,

Destroy the breeding places of mosquitoes

Destroying the breeding places of mosquitoes in your home and surroundings can be most effective to keep the spread of the disease in check. Clean up any dirty, unhygienic area in your neighbourhood. Make sure that the bushes are pruned well and all the drains are flowing properly. You also need to check for any ditches, pot hole or container where water might get stagnant and remove it. You must know that Aedes mosquitoes breed in fresh water, so even the containers with freshwater can become their breeding ground. Make it a point to cover all the fresh water sources with nets or enclosure to stop mosquito breeding. 

Also make sure that there is no stagnant water in your home, stored behind the refrigerator, in that old bucket or in the flower pot. Keeping your home and surroundings free from mosquitoes is certainly one of the most important things to do when there is an outbreak of chikungunya. 

Use mosquito repellant in the surrounding

Using mosquito repellant in the area can be very effective to kill the mosquitoes and to destroy their breeding areas. If you do not prefer opting for chemicals, opt for essential oils or fume to significantly reduce the population of mosquitoes in your area. Using drops of kerosene oil near the drains and water bodies can be effective to kill mosquitoes and their eggs.    

Don’ts during chikungunya

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If you or someone in your home has got the symptoms that indicate chikungunya, you need to be aware about the following Don’ts,

Do not delay treatment

Delayed treatment can be really dangerous in case of chikungunya infection. So, if there is an outbreak of the disease in your area and you or someone in your family is showing the symptoms, visit a medical specialist at the earliest.

Do not try to lead a normal lifestyle

If you have got chikungunya, you are most expected to feel extremely weak. Trying to lead a normal lifestyle with the infection can be fatal and might also affect your recovery. Moreover, if you are trying to lead a normal lifestyle with the infection, it increases the risk of the people around you for getting the infection.

Do not neglect any new symptom

In case of chikungunya you might develop some new symptoms after 2-3 days of the infection or even later. It is important to keep a constant check for the new symptoms and inform them accordingly to your doctor. Unless you are already in a hospital facility, it is best to take a note of any new symptom that might appear and inform it to your doctor.

Do not eat outside food

You really need to keep a strict check on your food cravings when you are suffering from chikungunya. Outside foods are invariably prepared with loads of oils and spices to make them tasty. However, the same ingredients make these foods difficult to digest. When you are fighting with chikungunya, it is best to keep the job of your digestive system easy. Eating outside food during this time can lead to digestive problems and even loose motion.   

Do not try to get back too quickly

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Chikungunya infection results into severe weakness. The joint and muscle pains can last for months even after the infection has been cured. So, if you have got the infection, do not push yourself to get back to your busy lifestyle too early. Take your time and opt for adequate rest and proper diet to ensure that your body is healed quickly. For around 2 percent of patients joint and muscle pain can linger for up to 6 months after the infection has been cured. So, take your time and do not rush to get back too quickly.