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The Parents Guide to Chikungunya

New channels are metaphorically flooding with news of monsoon being around the corner and a rather robust season being expected this year. For most people it is good news and being looked forward to with joy. That is until you reach parenting town full of anxious parents who will looking forward to monsoon weekend trips are still concerned about the mosquito borne diseases that the monsoon will surely bring Especially given the rather depraved condition of our country’s infrastructure and drainage system parents are right to fear the monsoon mosquito wave. Amongst the fears of these mosquito spread diseases, chikungunya is one of the more traumatic ones one the patient is your little one.

Chikungunya is not something you want your little one to fall sick with, here is our small 101 about the disease, its prevention and also how to recover from chikungunya amongst other things.

Chickungunya is caused by a virus carried by the Aedes Ageypti genus of mosquitoes, which usually bite during the day instead of dusk and dawn like other species of mosquitoes. Chickungunya while unable to cause death can be rather disabling to the patient due to severe joint pains. The joint pains can be so intense that it changes the posture of the people suffering from it. The name quite literally means “that which bends up”.

The symptoms of this traumatic infection include muscle and joint pains, rashes, headaches. Joint pains in particular can at times last for months and years. Other symptoms include diarrhea nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and dehydration amongst others. Symptoms similar to those of malaria and dengue which can be misdiagnosed in absence of a proper blood test.

Given the fact that neither a vaccine or nor a cure are in place as of today, its best to keep kids safe from mosquitoes to ensure that they do not get infected in the first place. The infection usually starts showing symptoms in a matter of 2-4 days while the infection takes 7-10 days to run its course.

Once infected, how to recover from chickungunya is the next question.

Treatment is what doctors call symptomatic meaning medication for relief from symptoms. Medications like paracetamol and ibuprofen are usually prescribed in appropriate dosage to provide relief from fever and joint pains. Hot compress is usually recommended to help cope with joint and muscle pain. In addition to the medication, lots of rest, lots of fluids and light nutritious meals are the key to recovery. Recuperation time is usually long and the process painfully slow. Constant monitoring is required to keep the symptoms in check. Dehydration is one more symptom that needs to monitored and countered with lots of fluid to make up for the loss from vomiting and or diarrhea. Make sure kids use adequate mosquito protection to prevent the infection from spreading further.

Kids and this awful disease and not a good combination when put together, especially for the kids. Simplest thing to do would be to prevent kids from being bitten in the first place to spare them the trauma.

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