General Practice 2022

12 Chikungunya symptoms and how long they last (with photos)

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12 Chikungunya symptoms and how long they last (with photos)
12 Chikungunya symptoms and how long they last (with photos)

The main symptoms of Chikungunya are:

  1. High fever, higher than 39º C that comes on suddenly;
  2. Intense joint pain and swelling that can affect tendons and ligaments;
  3. Small red spots on the skin that appear on the trunk and all over the body including the palms of the hands and soles of the feet;
  4. Pain in the back and also in the muscles;
  5. Itching all over the body or only on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, and there may be peeling of these places;
  6. Excessive fatigue;
  7. Hypersensitivity to light;
  8. Constant headache;
  9. Vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain;
  10. Chills;
  11. Redness in the eyes;
  12. Pain behind the eyes.

In women there are especially red spots on the body, vomiting, bleeding and mouth sores, while in men and older people the most common is pain and swelling in the joints and fever that can last for several days.

Since there is no specific treatment for this disease, it is necessary for the body to eliminate the virus, with only treatment to alleviate the symptoms. In addition, as there is no vaccine against the disease, the most reliable way to prevent the disease is to avoid being bitten by the mosquito. Here are 8 simple strategies to avoid mosquito bites.

Chikungunya is a viral disease caused by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, a type of mosquito very common in tropical countries, such as Brazil, and responsible for other diseases such as dengue or Zika, for example.

Symptoms of Chikungunya

Symptoms of Chikungunya

How long symptoms last

In the vast majority of cases, symptoms disappear after 14 days or even earlier, if adequate treatment is started with rest and medication to relieve discomfort.

However, there are also reports of several people in which some symptoms remained for more than 3 months, characterizing a chronic phase of the disease. At this stage, the most common symptom is persistent joint pain, but other signs may also appear, such as:

  • Hair loss;
  • Sensation of numbness in some regions of the body;
  • Raynaud's phenomenon, characterized by cold hands and white or purplish fingertips;
  • Sleep disorders;
  • Memory and concentration difficulties;
  • Vision blurred or blurred
  • Depression.

The chronic phase can last up to 6 years, and medication may be needed to treat these and other symptoms, in addition to physical therapy sessions to relieve pain and improve movement.

How to confirm the diagnosis

The diagnosis of Chikungunya is initially made by the general practitioner or infectious disease specialist by observing the signs and symptoms presented by the person. However, to confirm the infection, a molecular test may be indicated, to verify the presence of the virus in the circulation, or a serological test, to evaluate the presence of antibodies produced by the body against the infection. Both molecular and serological tests are performed using a small blood sample.

Symptoms of severity

In rare cases, Chikungunya manifests itself without fever and without joint pain, but the following changes may appear that indicate that the disease is serious and the person may need hospitalization:

  • In the nervous system: convulsions, Guillain-barré syndrome (characterized by loss of strength in the muscles), loss of movement with the arms or legs, tingling;
  • In the eyes: Inflammation of the optic, iris or retina, which can become severe and compromise vision;
  • In the heart: Heart failure, arrhythmia and pericarditis;
  • On the skin: Darkening of certain areas, appearance of blisters or canker sores;
  • In the kidneys: Inflammation and kidney failure.
  • Other complications: blood, pneumonia, respiratory failure, hepatitis, pancreatitis, adrenal insufficiency, and increased or decreased antidiuretic hormone.

These symptoms are rare but can happen in some people, being caused by the virus itself, by the person's immune system response or due to the use of medications.

How the transmission happens

The main form of transmission of Chikungunya is through the bite of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which is the same that transmits dengue. However, during pregnancy, if the pregnant woman is bitten by the mosquito, Chikungunya can also be passed on to the baby at the time of delivery.

This disease, similar to dengue, Zika and Mayaro, does not pass from one person to another.

How the treatment is done

Treatment usually lasts about 15 days and is done with the use of pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or paracetamol, to relieve fever, tiredness and headache. In cases of extreme pain, the doctor may indicate the use of other stronger medications against pain and inflammation. However, taking over-the-counter medications is not recommended, as it can cause serious changes, such as drug-induced hepatitis.

The duration of treatment depends on the age of the infected person, with young people taking an average of 7 days to heal, while the elderly can take up to 3 months. See more details about the treatment and the medicines used.

In addition to medication, other important tips are putting cold compresses on the joints to relieve swelling and discomfort, as well as drinking fluids and resting, to allow the body to recover more easily.

Check out these and other tips in the following video:

Chikungunya in pregnancy and babies

Symptoms and treatment during pregnancy are the same but the disease can pass to the baby during delivery, with a risk of 50% of the baby being contaminated, however very rarely abortion can occur.

When the baby is infected, he may have symptoms such as fever, not wanting to breastfeed, swelling in the extremities of the hands and feet, in addition to spots on the skin. Despite the child's lack of appetite, she can continue to be breastfed because the virus does not pass through breast milk. In children under 2 years of age, the doctor may decide that the child be admitted to hospital for treatment.

Chikungunya fever in newborn babies can be severe leading to serious complications because the central nervous system can be affected with the possibility of convulsions, meningoencephalitis, cerebral edema, intracranial hemorrhage. Hemorrhages and heart involvement with ventricular dysfunction and pericarditis may also occur.

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