Dengue and Chikungunya: Prevention at Our end

Dengue and Chikungunya

Rain Rain go away… Come again another day…!! The poem now makes a greater sense. These days, when it rains, more than being excited about pakodas and chai, now we are dreaded with the diseases the rain brings with itself. Flu, running nose, typhoid and viral fevers are the most commonly talked about topics in each house. Apart from these, two new diseases that have entered our world and are dominating news channels, social media, politicians, friends and relatives are Dengue and Chikungunya.

No matter how much information is bombarded on news channels, still we tend to miss out on simple preventive measures of these diseases as we are not fully aware how it is caused. Once we are aware of the mechanism of transmission, then only we can take full proof steps at our end to protect our families.

Transmission of Dengue and Chikungunya

Both Dengue and Chikungunya are viral diseases. The virus is spread by biting of infected mosquito. This infected mosquito spreads the infection from one infected person to another. This mosquito is known as female Aedes aegyptii. This mosquito bites in the day time as opposed to malaria mosquito that bites in night time.

Symptoms of Dengue and Chikungunya

Dengue and Chikungunya both are viral fevers with same transmission route and almost same symptoms. Clinically differentiating them may be difficult but it is very important to identify as dengue has severe complication.

  • Chills with High fever: Fever in Chikungunya can reach upto 104 F. Higher fever is seen Chikungunya as compared to dengue
  • Nausea and vomiting: seen in both of them including lack of appetite, weakness
  • Rashes on the body surface: In dengue, rashes are mainly seen on limbs and face whereas in Chikungunya they are seen on trunk, face , feet and palms
  • Bad headache: severe headache is complained of in both cases
  • Muscle and joint pain. Joint pains, muscle pain in back and neck muscle are predominant in both. Infact dengue is known for its ‘’bone breaking fever
  • Retro bulbar pain(pain behind eye balls): eyeball pain is more seen in dengue
  • Complications: Dengue is known for its hemorrhagic complications where one can heavily bleed starting from nose bleed, shock and difficulty in breathing. In Chikungunya around 10 % patients may develop long lasting joint pain

Dengue and Chikungunya Prevention

Two important strategies are there to prevent spread of disease from one infected person to another:

  • Breaking the cycle of transmission by protecting one self.
  • Stopping this mosquito to breed as the most common site of breeding of these mosquitoes is man made containers having stagnant water.

What are the things that are easily and practically do-able?

  • Wear full length clothing especially for lower limbs.
  • Empty the water container buckets, containers, coconut shells etc. One can cover them, if they cannot be emptied.
  • Do not over water the plants as it creates stagnant water in the pots even after the plant has absorbed the required water. Clean lower pots regularly.
  • Use of mosquito bed nets is highly advisable for infants and pregnant others.
  • Larger bed nets can be used for entirely family.
  • Check if the doors and window net is broken, kindly get it repaired or cover the hole by anything. The idea is to prevent mosquito from entering the house
  • Use of mosquito repellent creams his highly advisable
  • Mosquito repellant stickers are also available which can be used for kids
  • It is said that planting Tulsi also prevents mosquito from entering
  • Burning camphor also proves beneficial

Lab test and cure

The doctor would like to get some blood test run in order to confirm the diagnosis. Most commonly rising titers of Immunoglobulin is checks which marks and active infection. Also virus specific tests are also done. If suspecting dengue, then daily counts of platelets are done to see the deterioration or recovery of the patient.

See a doctor if you suspect any of the above mentioned symptoms.

  • For both the diseases, there is no specific treatment available. Symptomatic relief in form of painkillers and anti pyretic can be taken. Aspirin should be avoided totally.
  • Lots and lots of water, coconut water is recommended.
  • Calamine lotion for rashes. No steroids should be used
  • Ayurveda and homeopathic drugs also claim to give relief from symptoms.
  • In times of complications, intravenous fluids, platelets transfusion may be required.

I am a doctor and a public health specialist from Delhi. I have expertise in Obstetrics & Gynecology, child health and vaccinations. Formerly I worked with WHO’s immunization program in rural India as a technical consultant. I believe that accurate and relevant health information is the key to positive behavioral change subsequently leading to good health. I am an ardent traveler and a passionate writer.

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