Monday, September 19, 2016

Chikungunya and Homeopathy

What is Chikungunya?

Chikungunya is a viral fever.
This disease is caused when a mosquito named Aedes aegypti, also known as the yellow fever mosquito, bites and the virus enters our body.
Chikungunya disease is not spread directly from human to human but when Aedes mosquito bites a sick person and then bites a healthy person, this disease spreads.
When Chikungunya virus enters the human body, that person suffers from fever, cough, cold, body pain and joint pain.
Chikungunya virus causes disease symptoms similar to dengue disease, but Chikungunya fever is not fatal.
Usually this mosquito bites during day time, so it is important to take precaution against mosquito bite during daytime.
Although the disease is not fatal, but the joint pain may persist for a long time and it may take months to be perfectly healthy.

Symptoms of Chikungunya

Two to five days after the mosquito bite, symptoms of chikungunya start appearing. Key symptoms are as listed below:
  • Fever for 1-3 days, pain in joints and swelling
  • Sudden increase in fever with cold & shivering
  • Dry skin
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Pain in the eyes
  • Loss of sleep
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Rashes on hands and feet
  • Bleeding from the nose and gums for some people
These symptoms are visible usually for 5 to 7 days, but the joint pain generally lasts longer. Some people may be more affected by the disease, such as infants, elderly people aged 65 years or over and those with other medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease. Such people should consult the doctor immediately upon appearance of Chikungunya and should be treated with caution.

Treatment and Prevention of Chikungunya

It is important to consult a doctor when suffering from Chikungunya. Chikungunya can be handled with some home-remedies as well, because medicinally it cannot be cured. Medicines are used to suppress and manage the symptoms. Along with taking drugs prescribed by the doctor, patient should adopt the following measures:
  • Drink warm water so that your immune power remains strong
  • Consume milk, yogurt or other dairy products
  • Consume juice of neem leaves
  • Pay special attention to cleanliness of clothing and bedding
  • Eat papaya and bitter gourd as much as you can
  • Keep the area inside and around you always clean
  • Do not allow water to stagnate in areas near your home
  • Periodically clean the cooler, if not possible, put petrol in water once a week
  • Use mosquito nets while sleeping
  • Cover yourself completely when dressing to avoid mosquito bite
  • Avoid consuming outside food or drink kept in open
  • Keep windows and doors shut in evening, so that mosquitoes cannot enter the house
There is no commercial Chikungunya vaccine as yet to prevent the disease. Anyone living with the disease can become a source of disease for other people if a mosquito bites a healthy person after biting a patient. So if someone in your vicinity is suffering from Chikungunya, take special care to prevent mosquito bites, especially during the day.

Various Blood Tests for Chikungunya Diagnosis

Three types of blood tests can be used to diagnose Chikungunya and which test should be done depends primarily on timing of the test:
  1. Genomic testing, using PCR or RT-PCR method
  2. Testing for antibodies (IgM and IgG antibodies)
  3. Genomic testing, using PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) or RT-PCR method

    If a test is carried out within one week of the onset of Chikungunya, then genomic testing using PCR method is appropriate. This test can offer accurate diagnosis of chikungunya but may not be available in all the labs and often costs more than other tests. This test is generally not advisable after 7-8 days of onset of the disease because after one week it becomes difficult to detect and identify the virus behind chikungunya.

    Testing for antibodies (IgM antibodies and IgG antibodies)

    When we suffer from Chikungunya fever, our body starts generating antibodies to fight the virus. About 7-8 days after the onset of Chikungunya disease, body generates IgM antibodies and about 4-5 days after this, generation of IgG antibodies starts. These tests are also called Chikungunya IgM and Chikungunya IgG tests. This is why it is important to understand how many days after the onset of Chikungunya fever, test is being conducted and accordingly the results of these tests should be interpreted. IgM antibodies remain in the body for a long time, often for many months. These antibodies for Chikungunya can be tested in two ways – 1) Immunology and 2) ELISA method
    Immunology or Immuno-Assay is an easy, fast & cheaper method to diagnose chikungunya fever, but it requires good machines and experienced personnel to interpret the test results correctly because this test may not diagnose presence of Chikungunya with complete accuracy.
    ELISA method is relatively better to detect/ diagnose both types of antibodies – IgG and IgM. However, this method requires a larger quantity of blood sample and takes longer time, it may take 1-2 days to complete sometimes.
Medicines most frequently indicated in cases of Chikungunya are  Bryonia alba, Chamomilla, Eupatorium perfoliatum,  Gelsemium and Rhus toxicodendron which are prescribed on the basis of symptom similarity. 

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