Knowing Chikungunya symptoms is important to make sure one can get diagnosed in time and then seek proper treatment to better one’s condition. It is especially important to be alert because the symptoms of Chikungunya are similar to those of other mosquito-borne diseases, namely Dengue and Malaria.
Knowing the symptoms is important so one can consult a doctor as soon as these are seen and thereby get quick and speedy treatment. While one may not be able to differentiate between Chikungunya and Dengue by themselves, getting help from a doctor itself will get the accurate diagnosis and then the required treatment.
Chikungunya is caused due to the virus alphavirus from the family Togaviridae.
Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne disease which means it is transmitted through mosquito bites. The mosquito of the genus Aedes aegypti is seen to be the most common carrier of the disease. Sometimes the mosquito of the genus Aedes albopictus is also seen to be a carrier of the disease.
- High fever that is continuous
- A headache
- Light sensitivity
- Damaged blood vessels which cause rashes or visible marks on the surface of the skin
- A sore throat
- Cold extremities i.e. fingers and toes
- Extreme pain in the joints
- Visually red or sore joints as well as adjoining areas
- Severe rash on the skin
- Abdominal cramps that are very severe
- Painful enlargement of lymph nodes, especially in the neck
- Inflammation of the muscles in the heart, also known as myocarditis
- Uveitis or ocular diseases
- Retinitis or, eye disease
- Chemical imbalances in the brain, and consequent neurological disease such as myelitis, cranial nerve palsies, meningoencephalitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, etc.
- Extreme bullous lesions over the body
- Liver damage and consequent jaundice
- Acute kidney damage and consequent renal disease
While Chikungunya is mostly not fatal it causes severe complications which cause a lot of trauma and pain to the patient. The symptoms of the disease are so severe that one may have them even much after the disease is completely treated, for up to a year or two.
Hence, taking precautions is very important to prevent Chikungunya. The precautions involve preventing mosquito bites, which transmit the disease; and preventing the multiplication of mosquitoes in one’s surroundings.
- Low areas should be evened out and land should be level
- Hollow trees must be filled up with cement
- Items in storage must be kept covered
- from collecting in them.
- Drainage ditches must be kept covered
- Bird baths should be refreshed every day
- Buckets, tires, and other plastic or rubber substances should be stored properly to prevent water
- Plastics and polythesnes should be disposed of properly and not be allowed to stay in the open.
- Water should not be allowed to stagnate anywhere near housing areas
- Waste should not be kept in open areas and should be disposed of correctly
- Mosquito-repellent sprays or creams should be used, alongside other mosquito repellents
- Windows should be screened properly
- One should sleep in mosquito nets
- Insecticides should be sprayed around the house
- Long sleeves should be worn
- Shorts and skirts should be avoided
- Socks should be worn to prevent mosquito bites on feet, which are often exposed
Ans: The symptoms of Chikungunya becomes noticeable in 3 to 7 days after infection.
Ans: Having a fever can be indicative of a lot of conditions of the body, one of which is a fever. If you have a fever and other symptoms which suggest Chikungunya, or any other disease, you should consult a doctor for proper diagnosis.
Ans: Yes, a rash is often observed by those who have chikungunya. It may be a sign of Chikungunya if one has a rash. A doctor should be consulted to get an accurate diagnosis of one’s condition.
Ans: People above the age of 60 years, infants and children, those with heart diseases, those with renal impairments, those with high blood pressure, those with diabetes are all at a higher risk of contracting Chikungunya.
Ans: No, Chikungunya is less likely to affect those who have had the disease in the past. This is because the body develops its immunity against any disease upon one attack. And hence, after an episode with Chikungunya, one acquires the immunity that fights the disease upon future attacks.
Ans: Yes. While dehydration is not necessarily a symptom of Chikungunya, one may get dehydrated after being infected by the disease. One should drink plenty of fluids upon being diagnosed with Chikungunya to prevent this from happening.
Ans: Paracetamol or Acetaminophen can be taken to help reduce the fever and headache that come associated with Chikungunya.
Ans: The treatment of Chikungunya involves the following steps:
(i) Providing IV fluids
(ii) Electrolyte replacement in the body
(iii) monitoring one’s blood pressure
(iv) Blood transfusion if there is blood loss in the patient
Ans: While it is very rare, Chikungunya can cause neurological damage in patients when it gets very severe.
Ans: Chills can be a symptom of both Dengue and Chikungunya, as well as other diseases. One should not self-diagnose having a disease due to any single symptom. A doctor should be consulted to get a proper diagnosis and learn about the course of treatment.