If you’ve got a high temperature and are suffering from joint pain and swelling, it might not be wise to dismiss it as an ordinary fever. These symptoms, along with intense headaches and a rash, are characteristic of chikungunya. Chikungunya is a viral infection that’s spread by mosquitoes. In rare cases, it can also be transmitted from a mother to her newborn baby. Outbreaks of this disease have been seen in Asia, Africa, Europe, South and Central America, the Pacific and Indian Oceans, as well as the Caribbean. Cases have been reported in the US mainly among travelers returning from affected areas.1
What Can You Do About It?
Currently, there’s no vaccine or medicine for chikungunya. People usually recover from this disease within a week. But in certain cases, joint pain may persist for months. Also, those with heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure, as well as seniors and newborns, may experience a severe form of this illness.2 Certain remedies can, however, help you manage the symptoms.
To Treat Chikungunya
1. Ease The Fever
A fever is your body’s way of fighting infection. But if you’re uncomfortable, you can do a couple of things to ease your fever. Do keep in mind, though, your aim should be to lower the fever and not to get rid of it.
- Getting plenty of rest and taking sufficient fluids so that you don’t get dehydrated are important to help your body recover from a fever.
- Try to keep the room at a comfortable temperature, neither too hot nor too cold. Also, don’t bundle up if you get the chills due to fever. It’s better to use a layer of light clothing.
- A sponge bath can help cool you down when you have a fever. But don’t go for alcohol or ice rubs or take cold baths as these may make you shiver. This will then cause your core body temperature to rise.3
2. Apply A Cold Pack
Using a cold pack can help relieve aching joints. Cold can constrict your blood vessels, reduce swelling, and ease the pain.4 Apply some ice wrapped in a towel to swollen, painful joints to get relief.
3. Sip Ginger Tea
Ginger has been valued for its medicinal properties for ages. Studies show that consuming ginger can ease pain and inflammation caused by rheumatic conditions. It is thought that ginger works by inhibiting the synthesis of prostaglandin, compounds present in your body that play a role in inflammation.5 Steep some freshly grated ginger in hot water to make a delicious ginger tea.
4. Try Turmeric
Curcumin, a bioactive component present in turmeric, blocks enzymes involved in the process of inflammation. This anti-inflammatory property of turmeric can help lessen pain and swelling in your joints.6
Try adding this yellow spice to your cooking. Or make a turmeric tea by simmering a teaspoon of turmeric powder
5. Use Stinging Nettles
Historically, people in Europe have used stinging nettles to treat pain caused by rheumatism. Stinging yourself with nettles around the affected area is thought to work as the nettles contain histamine and serotonin, which are neurotransmitters involved in transmitting pain. These stimulate pain neurons and the skin irritation helps override and reduce the musculoskeletal pain.7 In fact, one study found that people who had pain at the base of their index finger or thumb experienced relief after they applied stinging nettle leaf to the affected part for a week. Do keep in mind though that the stinging nettle themselves can cause pain or mild irritation when applied.8
6. Try Cat’s Claw
Cat’s claw, a medicinal plant that grows in the
7. Have A Hot Pepper Rub
Capsaicin, a component found in hot peppers like cayenne, can be used topically for pain relief. This ingredient works by depleting substance P, a compound involved in transmitting pain signals to your brain and triggering inflammatory reactions in the joints. Do take care not to apply capsaicin if your skin is
8. Check Out These Ayurvedic Remedies
According to Ayurveda, chikungunya develops because of an imbalance of vata, the element of air. Some remedies recommended for reducing the symptoms of chikungunya include:
Grapes And Milk
Taking dry grapes with cow’s milk is considered to be helpful in dealing with the symptoms of chikungunya. It’s also worth noting that animal studies have found that anthocyanins, which are plant pigments found in grapes, have a beneficial effect on inflammation and on the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.11
Tulsi leaves have been traditionally used to lower fever in Ayurveda. Animal studies also show tulsi leaf extracts are effective in reducing fever as well as inflammation.12 Try steeping dried tulsi leaves in hot water to make a cup of refreshing tea. You can also consume fresh tulsi leaves directly.
Triphala is an ayurvedic formulation made of the fruits of beleric myrobalan (bibhitaki), black myrobalan (haritaki), and Indian gooseberry (amalaki). This herbal composition has been found to be useful in dealing with chikungunya. Previous research has also found this formulation to have a strong anti-inflammatory effect in gouty arthritis.13
Sunflower Seeds And Honey
Ayurvedic doctors also prescribe a mixture of powdered sunflower seeds and honey for chikungunya. This mixture is considered to be helpful in relieving joint pains. Sunflower seeds contain nutrients like vitamin E and zinc, which are important for your immune system.14 15 16 Honey, on the other side, is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.17 18
9. Try Homeopathy
Homeopathy too has several remedies that can help you deal with chikungunya. Medicines like Bryonia alba (white bryony), Lycopodium clavatum (club moss), and Rhus toxicodendron (poison ivy) are used to treat a chikungunya fever. Custicum (a blend of sulfate of potash and slaked lime), Plumbum Met (lead), and Phytolacca (pokeroot) are generally used to treat pain. However, do keep in mind that homeopathy tailors treatments to the individual rather than providing generalized treatments based on the symptoms of the disease. Therefore, it is important to seek the advice of a homeopathic doctor who will be able to prescribe treatment that’s appropriate for you.19
Preventive Measures That You Can Take
There are several precautions that you can take to protect yourself from chikungunya.
- Wear long pants and shirts with long sleeves to minimize the area of skin that’s exposed to mosquitoes.
- Use mosquito repelling creams or sprays to protect exposed skin.
- Use screens on your windows and doors as well as bed nets to keep out mosquitoes.
- Don’t let stagnant water collect outside your home even in small containers like buckets or flowerpots as mosquitoes can breed in them.
- If you have a condition like diabetes or heart disease which can make chikungunya more severe, avoid traveling to places with the virus.20
|↑1||Chikungunya. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑2||Chikungunya. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑3||Fever. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑5||Srivastava, K. C., and T. Mustafa. “Ginger (Zingiber officinale) in rheumatism and musculoskeletal disorders.” Medical hypotheses 39, no. 4 (1992): 342-348.|
|↑6||Best Spices for Arthritis. Arthritis Foundation.|
|↑7||Stinging Nettle. Arthritis Foundation UK.|
|↑8||Randall, Colin, Hester Randall, Frank Dobbs, Charles Hutton, and Hilary Sanders. “Randomized controlled trial of nettle sting for treatment of base-of-thumb pain.” Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 93, no. 6 (2000): 305-309.|
|↑9||Piscoya, J., Z. Rodriguez, S. A. Bustamante, N. N. Okuhama, M. J. S. Miller, and M. Sandoval. “Efficacy and safety of freeze-dried cat’s claw in osteoarthritis of the knee: mechanisms of action of the species Uncaria guianensis.” Inflammation Research 50, no. 9 (2001): 442-448.|
|↑10||Capsaicin. Arthritis Research Uk.|
|↑11||Decendit, Alain, Maria Mamani-Matsuda, Virginie Aumont, Pierre Waffo-Teguo, Daniel Moynet, Katia Boniface, Emmanuel Richard et al. “Malvidin-3-O-β glucoside, major grape anthocyanin, inhibits human macrophage-derived inflammatory mediators and decreases clinical scores in arthritic rats.” Biochemical pharmacology 86, no. 10 (2013): 1461-1467.|
|↑12||Godhwani, Savitri, J. L. Godhwani, and D. S. Vyas. “Ocimum sanctum: an experimental study evaluating its anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic activity in animals.” Journal
|↑13||Sabina, E. P., and M. Rasool. “An in vivo and in vitro potential of Indian ayurvedic herbal formulation Triphala on experimental gouty arthritis in mice.” Vascular pharmacology 48, no. 1 (2008): 14-20.|
|↑14||Han, Sung Nim, and Simin Nikbin Meydani. “Impact of vitamin E on immune function and its clinical implications.” Expert review of clinical immunology 2, no. 4
|↑15||Prasad, Ananda S. “Zinc in human health: effect of zinc on immune cells.” MOLECULAR MEDICINE-CAMBRIDGE MA THEN NEW YORK- 14, no. 5/6 (2008): 353.|
|↑16||Basic Report: 12036, Seeds, sunflower seed kernels, dried. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑17||Kassim, Mustafa, Mouna Achoui, Mohd Rais Mustafa, Mustafa Ali Mohd, and Kamaruddin Mohd Yusoff. “Ellagic acid, phenolic acids, and flavonoids in Malaysian honey extracts demonstrate in vitro anti-inflammatory activity.” Nutrition Research 30, no. 9 (2010): 650-659.|
|↑18||Parle, Milind, Isha Dhamija, and Pardeep Azad. “Chikungunya.” Annals of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences 1, no. 2 (2010): 129-133.|
|↑19||HOMOEOPATHIC PERSPECTIVES IN CHIKUNGUNYA. Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy.|
|↑20||Traveler Alert: Chikungunya Virus. University of Rochester Medical Center.|