Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne disease which first came into attention in 1952, when it affected and created havoc in Southern Tasmania. It is an RNA type of virus that belongs to the family of Alphavirus, belonging to the family Togaviridae.
In 2015, the disease that hit the world with despair was Chikungunya. The disease caused immense leg pain along with fever.
It affected many and is still prevalent in some parts of the world. If you are or your dear one is suffering from Chikungunya, you should opt for the natural ways to treat the conditions.
Treatment of Chikungunya in medical science aims to reduce the symptoms. It is seen that with drugs the fever is reduced but the leg pain persists. So, it is recommended to carry out the natural ways to recover from this condition.
Down below, is a list of home remedies to treat chikungunya.
Home Remedies To Treat Chikungunya
The most painful symptom of this viral infection is inflammation and joint pain. This is why cold compress is a great way to reduce the pain.
Cold compress helps in blocking the nerve endings, due to which numbness occurs and blood flow to the area decreases. This helps in reducing pain as well as inflammation.
How To Do It?
- To perform a cold compress all you need is a few ice cubes. Crush them and put them on a towel.
- Now keep it on the area of inflammation for 2-3 minutes.
- Repeat as many times as you want during the day.
- Do not put ice directly on your skin as it damages the surrounding tissue.
- It is a remedy for fast recovery from Chikungunya.
Massage is a very useful and simple way to treat with joint pain found in chikungunya. Massaging the area of pain reduces the stiffness of the muscles and increases blood circulation. Additionally, it can treat chikungunya skin rashes.
How To Do It?
- To proceed with the massage you will need some warmed up oil of your choice preferably coconut oil, sesame oil, or mustard oil.
- Rub the oil in between your palms and gently apply pressure to the inflamed area.
- Repeat for a few times till the pain decrease.
- Do not apply a lot of force as it may aggravate the situation.
3. Epsom Salt Soak
It is a great source of magnesium sulfate which can instantly reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. When you use Epsom salts in warm water, it will relax the adjoining muscles and promote blood circulation. This will help you recover fast from Chikungunya pain.
How To Do It?
Mix one cup of Epsom salt and baking soda in a bathtub with lukewarm water for a full body soak or a spoon of Epsom salt and a pinch of baking soda in a bucket filled with warm water for localized treatment. This is one of the best remedies for fast recovery from chikungunya.
Soak yourself in it for 15 minutes, 3-4 times throughout the day.
Turmeric has been used in Ayurveda for centuries. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which fight a lot of viral and bacterial infections. Similarly, it is tremendously helpful in case of chikungunya.
Turmeric contains Curcumin which is a major antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. This help to treat the joint pain after Chikungunya.
How To Do It?
The best way to incorporate turmeric into your diet is to add it to warm milk and drink one cup daily before bed. You can also eat raw turmeric early in the morning along with some jaggery.
Ginger also contains anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that help combat the pain a patient suffers from chikungunya.
It contains Gingerol which is a potent anti-inflammatory agent so, is often considered as a one of the best home remedy for Chikungunya joint pain.
Ginger also has immunity boosters present in it which help in fighting the infection and also improves blood circulation throughout the body. The sulfur present in ginger reduces joint inflammation and hence reduces joint pain.
How To Do It?
- To use ginger to reduce pain, you can use the essential oils obtained from it and massage it on the point of pain.
- You can also make a ginger tea by boiling 250 ml of water along with the required amount of ginger pieces.
- Drink it 3 times daily.
- You can eat the raw ginger too if you do not have a sensitive tongue or you can also use it while cooking to give your food an extra flavor!
6. Coconut Water
One of the traits of a typical chikungunya infection is that it dehydrates the body and fatigue kicks in the patient. They suffer from a lack of energy.
This is why coconut water is a great home remedy to replenish the patients suffering from this infection. It is a great way to detoxify the liver.
Drink 2 to 3 glass of coconut water every day. It is an effective way to treat chikungunya using superfoods.
7. Alkaline Diet
Alkaline diet help in maintaining a proper pH level in the body. Maintaining pH in the body is essential during the time of infection as toxins released in the body by the virus decreases the pH levels of the body. Also, alkaline foods are important for reducing pain and inflammation.
How To Use It?
- A few of the chikungunya treatment food that are alkaline in nature are foods containing more of Vitamin C like orange, lemon, and other citrus foods.
- Drink lemon juice daily in the morning before breakfast without sugar.
- Eat plenty of green vegetables as they contain vitamin E and iron.
- Green tea also contains loads of antioxidants. Intake of green tea once daily will also be beneficial.
Giloy is obtained from the plant Tinospora cordifolia, which is commonly known as Guduchi. This plant is used in Ayurveda since ancient times for the treatment of the disease associated with fever.
It contains anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic and immunomodulatory properties which help in dealing with various symptoms of chikungunya.
It also possesses anti-microbial properties that aid in quick recovery from the infection. This is remedy for fast recovery from chikungunya.
Take 2 capsules daily along with food daily. Always ask a doctor before taking these Giloy capsules.
They should not be taken by children below 5 years of age.
9. Papaya Leaves
Papaya leaves increase the blood platelet count and increase the RBC count as well which decreases rapidly during this viral infection.
This leaf also contains larvicidal properties with kills the larvae of the mosquito carrying this virus. This age-old home remedy works wonder in case of chikungunya.
How To Use It?
- To use this you can take fresh leaves from the papaya plant and make a paste out of it. Eat it twice a day.
- You can also make a tea with the papaya leaves and ingest it twice daily.
- If you cannot get the leaves nearby, you can always get papaya leaves tinctures available in the market.
10. Chili Peppers
Chili Peppers are rich in Capsaicin which is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It blocks the compound which sends the pain signals to the brain.
How To Use It?
- To use chili peppers you can make a paste out of it.
- Take 3 spoons of chili peppers and add it to a warm cup of olive or jojoba oil.
- Heat it and add beeswax into it. Stir the mixture slowly on a low heat till the wax melts.
- Now apply this while hot to the affected areas especially the joints.
11.Tulsi Leaves/Holy Basil Leaves
This one is the Chikungunya ayurvedic treatment. Basil or Tulsi leaves are potent anti-microbial agents. They aid in reducing cold and cough and is very effective against the chikungunya virus as well.
Eat 5-6 leaves daily in the morning along with honey to combat the infection.
12. Foods To Be Eaten During Chikungunya
Like I have mentioned before, the best way to combat chikungunya is to maintain an alkaline diet.
These are Chikungunya treatment food that will help you with the curing process is as follows:
1. Leafy Veggies
Whether it is an illness or a healthy diet, incorporating green leafy vegetables is a must. They are easy to digest and contain a lot of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and iron which helps in increasing immunity, boost vital functioning of the body, prevent gut wall damage and keeps the body healthy.
Ingesting a lot of green vegetables during this infection not only ensures a boost in the fight against the virus but also helps in maintaining the body’s pH.
They also help in increasing the platelet count which reduces during the chikungunya infection.
2. Apples And Bananas
You might have heard of the phrase that “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. It is true in case of chikungunya as well.
Apples are rich in fibers and help in reducing cholesterol levels in the body. Bananas also contain fibers which prevent constipation and keeps the intestines and stomach clean.
Include them in your diet to steer clear of chikungunya.
3. Foods Rich In Vitamins C And E
Vitamin C and E help in increasing muscle mass, release the toxins out of your body and also help in increasing the number of blood vessels in your body which is absolutely essential for a patient suffering from chikungunya.
Increase intake of strawberries, kiwis, broccoli, lemon, nuts, and tropical fruits to get a diet rich with these vitamins.
4. Liquid Based Foods
Dal, lentils, soups of vegetables are great during chikungunya. They provide with the essential proteins which help in energizing the patient.
They also contain antioxidants which help in reducing the toxins released from the viral attack in the body. liquids foods are absorbed easily too, helping in obtaining more nutrition than solid foods.
5. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids help in nourishing the organs and brain. It improves body functions and helps in the working of joints. Ingesting omega 3 fatty acids during this infection helps in reducing the joint inflammation and pain.
6. Coconut Water
It is a great energy replenishing food. This is why doctors recommend all the time to drink plenty of coconut water during illness. It is a good source of carbohydrates and energy.
Now that you know what to eat during chikungunya, let’s have a look at all those foods which you should avoid during chikungunya.
13. Foods To Avoid Chikungunya
You should always avoid eating:
- Too much of oil
- Deep fried foods
- Processed sugar
- Carbonated drinks
- Junk foods
These foods don’t provide with any nutrition and instead can harm your body even more, which is not advisable during such a harmful infection.
Chikungunya is a very harmful infection and it has cost lives all over the world. Hence every person should take precautions on a daily basis.
Some ways to prevent chikungunya are as follows.
How To Prevent Chikungunya?
- Keep your house clean and do not let any freshwater stagnant for more than 2 days. Wash flower pots and water storage containers frequently.
- Keep food and water covered all the time.
- Do not let water accumulate due to rain or water leakage as this is the breeding site of these mosquitos. Throw away all the stagnant water around the house.
- Use mosquito creams during daytime as Aedes mosquito is most active during the day. For prevention use mosquito repellants at night as well.
- Always let your baby and children sleep in a mosquito net. You can too use a mosquito net during sleeping.
- If you are visiting an area which is filled with mosquitos, always wear socks and full sleeved top and pants so that the mosquito would not be able to find bare skin. Wear light-colored clothes as mosquitos won’t get attracted to it.
- If fever persists for more than 3 days, always get the patient’s blood checked.
Chikungunya is a very widespread disease but the awareness level to this disease if fairly low.
Hence here are some frequently asked questions on Chikungunya which will solve all your doubts.
Symptoms Of Chikungunya
This disease like various other diseases produces a vast array of symptoms which are most commonly misdiagnosed.
Various people face different symptoms and it is hard to tell on the basis of observing just the symptoms. However, the common ranges of symptoms people have faced are as follows:
As it a viral disease, the first symptom to occur is a fever. There is an abrupt increase in body temperatures and increase in body pain.
2. Joint Pain
Joint Pain is a very common symptom of Chikungunya. The virus goes and affects the joint fluids resulting in increased friction. This causes pain and can last up to a few days.
People who have been affected seriously can have a major problem in walking and might get a stooped posture.
In some cases, it has been reported that even after the infection has subsided, joint pains lasted for months and sometimes even years.
3. Other Symptoms
Other common symptoms include rash, fatigue, headache, nausea and muscle pain. These symptoms are experienced at the epitome of the infection and can be confused with the common viral fever.
In some cases, it has been reported that there have been the eye, neurological, cardiac and gastrointestinal complications. These are not common in people below 40 years of age, but older people can face serious issues.
It has also been reported that if left untreated for many days, the infection becomes fatal.
Causes Of Chikungunya
Chikungunya is a viral disease. It is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito and is similar to dengue. The mosquito carrying this virus is Aedes aegypti mosquito, commonly known as the yellow fever mosquito.
This virus needs a tropical climate to survive and this is why this infection is commonly seen in Asian countries.
In recent studies, it has been found that another type of mosquito known as Aedes albopictus is a carrier for the chikungunya virus. These mosquitos bite people during the day, hence people become easily susceptible to the infection.
Aedes mosquito is evolving with the passing days. It has reduced the humming of wings before attacking a human. It also attacks them from below so there is no detection.
These mosquitos were previously seen in urban areas but they now have moved to rural areas. They need 2ml of water only for breeding. Their eggs can survive one year of extreme climate conditions and the virus gets passed on from generations to generations.
As the mosquito bites the human body, the virus is directly injected into the bloodstream. It travels to different cells of the body and attacks the RNA.
It imparts its own RNA in the human RNA and the replicated form contains the viral RNA. This way they spread out all over the body and impair main body functions.
No cases have been seen for the virus getting transmitted by direct contact. Some research has also proved that monkeys in Africa are the largest reservoirs for the chikungunya virus.
Diagnosis Of Chikungunya
There is a various method for the diagnosis of chikungunya virus. Usually, serological tests such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent analysis (ELISA) confirms the presence of IgM and IgG antibodies for chikungunya virus. IgM antibodies are highest in number after 3 to 5 weeks of the infection and persist for up to 2 months.
Virological tests can be done after the first week of the onset of the infection. The virus can be isolated from the blood. RT–PCR products from clinical samples may also be used for genotyping of the virus, allowing comparisons with virus samples from various geographical sources.
It is clearly seen that chikungunya is a very complicated infection and there is plenty of loss of lives due to one virus. Hence here are some simple home remedies to help you along with the treatment in getting cured faster.
NOTE: These home remedies will help to reduce the symptoms of chikungunya, and alone they cannot cure the viral infection.
1. How Does It Differ From Dengue?
The Dengue and Chikungunya virus is carried by the same mosquito but the virus type is different. Chikungunya is caused by the virus named Togaviridae alphavirus while Dengue is caused by Flaviviridae flavivirus.
While dengue is more common than Chikungunya, the joint pain associated with the latter can last up to years.
The symptoms of Dengue begin to show up after 13 to 14 days of exposure but the signs of Chikungunya start showing after 2-3 days of onset along with the sudden rise in body temperature.
The incubation period of the dengue virus is for 3 to 7 weeks but for the Chikungunya virus is for 1 to 12 days.
While the most common symptom for the chikungunya infection is joint pain, for dengue it is internal bleeding and breathing problems.
2. Is There A Vaccine For Chikungunya?
As per the reports of 2017, there are no vaccines available. However, a phase-II trial was conducted for a live and attenuated virus to develop resistance. It was seen that after 28 days 85% of people developed resistance. It was not effective against joint pain.
3. How Long Does Chikungunya Last?
Generally, Chikungunya lasts for 7 to 12 days. The incubation period for the virus is 12 days. The symptoms are shown within 2-3 days with a tremendous rise in fever.
The virus remains inside the human body for 7 days minimum. It is generally self-limiting, but the joint pain can last up to years. It is rarely fatal.
4. How To Soothe Skin Rashes Caused By Chikungunya?
Skin rashes can be very irritating due to the constant itching and pain it causes.
Some effective treatment for chikungunya skin rashes are given below in detail:
Oats contain a compound known as avenanthramide which reduces inflammation. It relieves itching to a great extent.To use this you have to grind the oats in a mixer and mix it in warm water. Soak in it for 15-20 minutes.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider vinegar is a very effective antiseptic, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent. It relieves itching and redness.It’s best to use it in raw form because the raw form contains enzymes and essential bacteria.
To use apply a few drops of the vinegar on the affected areas or apply with a cotton swab. Remember to dilute it with water if it causes irritation. If irritation persists, stop using it and wash the area properly.
Baking soda is a very useful ingredient from your kitchen shelves to reduce itching. Mix baking soda with some water and apply on the affected areas.
Aloe Vera is the best ingredient to soothe skin irritation. Cut some fresh leaves and apply the extract directly onto the skin before sleeping. Remember to apply a thick layer so that it seeps into skin easily.
Olive oil has the property to capture moisture into the skin and can be used against itching very effectively. It also promotes healing and skin renewal. It soothes rashes too.
To use it, apply olive oil with honey on the rashes.
Cold compress helps in decreasing inflammation. It is very helpful if a rash converts into blisters. It reduces redness and swelling as well. Take some crushed ice onto a towel and apply on the affected areas.
5. Why Does This Disease Cause Joint Pain?
This was unknown for many years until a recent study showed that there was a direct connection to the amount of virus in the body to the release f cytokines released from the body.
The virus affects the immune response of the body which is why cytokines like interferon are released. These cause swelling in the joints. If the level of cytokines is high, the joint pain can persist up to years.
6. How Long Will The Joint Pain From This Fever Last?
This depends on the amount of infection and the amount of virus present in the body. In most cases, it subsides within a month, but it has been seen that sometimes it lasts for years. It takes a lot of immunity from the patients to allow the joint pain to quickly subside.
There is no doubt that Chikungunya Virus is one of the most infectious virus out there, but the right treatment and right diet will make it go in no time! Just be cautious and protect yourselves from the harmful mosquitos.