Listless, feverish and in pain? It could be chikungunya

Listless, feverish and in pain? It could be chikungunya


Run a blood test for chikungunya. Early detection and treatment can relieve you of the symptoms of the illness.

It strikes silently, catching you completely unawares. A few days later, you are battling an infection known as ‘chikungunya’. It is a painful illness to go through, though complete recovery is possible with timely treatment, rest and the right diet. And it took just one mosquito bite to bring you down.

Do you have a sudden high fever, accompanied by pain the major joints of your body? Is it difficult to bend your knees or back, or even move from one spot to another? You could also have a pounding headache and general apathy. These are most probably symptoms of chikungunya, and you should seek immediate medical intervention for it.

What are the symptoms of chikungunya?

An infected mosquito needs to bite you just once to transfer the virus causing chikungunya to your bloodstream. A person thus bitten will typically take about 3 to 5 days to exhibit the symptoms of chikungunya.

Normally, the most common symptoms of chikungunya are high fever and debilitating joint pain. It might become difficult to move about, and in severe cases, the person may even become bent over with the pain. Other symptoms are recurring headache, swelling in the joints, skin rash and muscle pain or soreness.

Chikungunya does not turn fatal, but it causes severe pain in the muscles and joints. Recovery may be slow and dependent on the person’s treatment plan, overall fitness, etc. Most people recover from the illness in a week or two. Doctors also believe that a person who has suffered from chikungunya once may not suffer it again, as the body inoculates itself against the illness.

A serum test is a must!

However, the symptoms of chikungunya are quite similar to those of malaria or Zika fever. It will not help to guess at, or self-diagnose, the illness. Only a serum/blood test can give an accurate picture of whether you are suffering from chikungunya or something else.

The treatment plan for the illness typically involves fever management and pain relief medication. Lots of rest and drinking as much water as possible to maintain hydration levels, are recommended. Till date, a cure for the illness has not been found. The doctor will also prescribe a diet of light, home cooked food low on spices and oil, and fresh raw fruit or fruit juices.

Make sure that you spray the house with a mosquito killer spray if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a vector-borne infection like chikungunya, dengue or malaria. Switch on an electric plug in mosquito repellent at night when you sleep, to keep mosquitoes at bay.

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