Chikungunya fever

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Chikungunya fever is an ailment triggered by a virus carried by mosquitoes. One is likely to acquire the condition if travelling to areas of the globe where there have been reported cases such as parts of Africa, Asia, Europe and islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Those who travel can spread this condition. When one travels to a high-risk country and gets bitten, he/she gets sick and returns home. If bitten again, he/she can spread the virus to mosquitoes in the neighborhood. Remember that the mosquitoes carrying the disease usually bite during the daylight hours.

What are the indications?

The characteristic symptoms include fever and sore joints. It is important to note that the joint pain often occur in the hands and feet. In most cases, the symptoms typically start in a week after a bite.

Some also have muscle pain, headache, rash or swollen joints.

Chikungunya fever
The characteristic symptoms include fever and sore joints.

Management of chikungunya fever

Even today, there is no treatment for chikungunya fever. The symptoms eventually settle on their own after a week. The treatment of the symptoms can help the individual feel better.

  • Medications to reduce the fever and pain. Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen or naproxen can be given.
  • Ensure that the individual gets enough rest.
  • Increase the intake of fluids.

If the pain is significant, the doctor might prescribe a stronger pain medication. In few cases, some have joint pain that persists from months or even years.

Preventive measures

At the present, there is no available vaccine to prevent chikungunya fever. Luckily, there are measures to protect against mosquito bites especially while traveling.

  • Use long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Apply an insect repellant with DEET.
  • Spray clothing with DEET.
  • Utilize an insect spray indoors specifically for flying insects around the sleeping areas.
  • When sleeping, use mosquito netting if sleeping during the daylight hours.

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