What is Fever? Is fever your friend or enemy?
- Fever and inflammation are protective responses of our Immunity system to a harmful stimulus or agent.
- External factors like Living and non-living microorganisms viz; Viruses, Bacteria, Parasites, Fungi etc, certain Allergens, Poison, chemicals, burns or internal harmful factors like toxic by-products of metabolism, Hormonal imbalance, Cancerous cells etc. are when caught by patrolling guards (Macrophages, monocytes cells) of immunity system, they inform headquarter of immunity department and also send signal to brain.
- Upon getting information of such harmful agents, control room releases and activates a large number of fighting cadets (like White blood cells, T cells, B cells, natural Killer cells, antibodies etc). These fighter cells of immunity are rushed to infected part of the body and fight with these harmful agents and protect our body from further damage or invasion. If our army of immunity wins, we regain our health but if we lose the battle then these infectious organisms or other harmful stimulus destroy our tissues and health and we fall sick.
- When brain receives the signal of harmful stimuli, it raises body's temperature which in turn does many good things to us like- it stimulates immunity system to work better, it also increases heart rate, blood flow, and oxygen flow so that our fighters can reach to battlefield quickly and continuously to fight back successfully. And last but not the least, in raised temperature, like in hot water, many of the infectious microorganisms die fast.
- So although in a way raised temperature is good for us and lowering it by so called "strong" anti pyretics (fever lowering medications) is not so good but, presence of high temperature for a long time, especially in kids, elderly, during pregnancy, diabetics, epileptics or in those who are having weak strength, weak heart and immunity, is not good; so in such cases, one must try to lower down temperature with safer medicines like Paracetamol along with sponging of the whole body with little luke warm water so that pores are open and excess heat can be released from the body.
- Care and emphasis must be done to find out the cause of fever and treat it. Only fever-lowering medicines are not enough.
- One must avoid irrational use of antibiotics ( for example, in viral infections, antibiotics have no role as they work on "Bacteria" and not on Viruses).
What is Chikungunya and what are its signs and symptoms?
- Chikungunya is an infection caused by a virus (CHIKV) which is spread by mosquitoes.
- It is not caused by eating Chicken or meat
- Redness in the eye: This typically means that one is likely to suffer from conjunctivitis and face difficulty in looking towards the light.
- Headache: Frequent and severe headaches are a common symptom of Chikungunya that may continue for days together at a stretch.
- Severe joint and body pain: This type of pain is frequent and keeps increasing as the days pass. Sometimes, the joints also get swelled up due to severe pain. The appearance of rashes usually on limbs and trunks:
- Rashes on entire body which keep coming back frequently.
- Bleeding: The person suffering from this disease is at a high risk of suffering from bleeding. Haemorrhage may occur at times too.
- Some of the clinical symptoms of chikungunya seen in children are as follows:-
- Retro-orbital pain,( pain behind the eyeball) Vomiting, Diarrhoea, and Meningeal syndrome ( Covering over brain is inflamed).
Why Joint pain in Chikungunya?
Based on the ongoing research, following could be three reasons for acute and chronic persistent joint and muscle pain in Chikungunya
- CHIKV RNA (the soul of chikungunya virus) has strong love and affection for synovial membrane (Covering membrane over our joints, which produces fluid to nurture and protect the joint and also facilitates the smooth movement) so a large number of viruses are accumulated on joints.
- This Virus, as said above, is the "harmful agent", so in order to kill it, body produces large number of cytokines like IL 6, IL17, TNF alfa etc., and while destroying chikungunya viruses, our immunity also attacks Synovial membrane where these viruses are residing ( it is like, in order to attack a hidden terrorist, the shelter is also under weapon attack and get destroyed).
- In the acute stage, joint pain is due to IL 6 but in some patients, there is the persistence of the production of IL 17 which causes chronic, long-standing joint pain, to the extent, some patients get converted to the process of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Last but not the least, viruses themselves eat up yummy synovial membrane to get the nourishment for their abundantly growing population
Is Chikungunya fever described in ancient Ayurveda?
Ayurveda, which is written almost 3 to 4 thousands years from now, had mentioned various kinds of fever. One of the fevers, called:
"SANDHIG SANNIPATIK JWARA" -
- Sadhig means Joint,
- Sannipat means very acute, life-threatening,
- Jwara- means fever
Signs and symptoms described in Ayurveda are having striking similarities with above all (they also resembles with Rheumatic fever- another infectious disease).
So I feel, Chikungunya did exist in olden days too.
What is Ayurveda management for Chikungunya?
- For instant relief from joint pain, do hot sand fomentation. Take sea sand in iron or earthen pot heat it for almost 20 minutes, then keep it on a cotton cloth and tie it properly so that there is no spilling of sand. Now gently apply little til oil on the affected joints (NO massage) and keep one plain cloth over the joint and finally keep the sandbag (we call it as Sand Pottali) over that joint. Keep on rotating in various places. (PLEASE TAKE CARE THAT IT SHOULD NOT CAUSE ANY BURN, THIS SHOULD NOT BE DONE TO DIABETICS OR TO EXTREME AGE GROUP OF PEOPLE. IT IS TO BE DONE AFTER LEARNING UNDER MEDICAL OR EXPERT SUPERVISION ). This simple technique relieves the pain and reduces swelling in joints.
- Turmeric one full teaspoon to be boiled in one cup of milk and to drink (called as Turmeric Latte). Turmeric is an excellent anti-inflammatory and household herb. A number of papers are published on the efficacy of Turmeric in joint pain, it is proven that- it reduces IL6, IL17 and TNF-alpha, and other inflammatory particles, thereby efficiently reduces pain and swelling. Those who are allergic to milk can take it with little Ghee or Groundnut or Olive oil.
- There are other several effective and clinically tried herbs are available, like Tinospora, Chirayata, Andrographis paniculata, Neem etc but they must be taken only after being evaluated by an expert Ayurveda Physician.
What is the Diet plan for Chikungunya?
- According to Ayurveda, in any kind or type of fever, as long as fever is persisting, one should not take heavy diet; because due to toxins of virus/ bacteria etc., a body is not able to produce proper digestive juices and hence heavy food will not get digested. And whatever is not digested properly, will get converted to Toxin (in Ayurveda this toxin is called Aama- the root cause of all diseases and strength of all diseases).
- Food should be light and highly nourished and should be easily absorb-able and should be able to provide quick energy. For that, a gruel of Rice plus Green gram dal along with little homemade ghee is the best recipe.
- Boiled Green Moong - 30 to 40 gms ( almost one medium wati)
- Vegetable soup of Carrot + Beetroot + Coriander leaves, Pudina, Lauki (Bottle gourd) around 150 ml per day
- Hot cooked Rice + Moong Dal
- Avoid all kinds of Maida items( like bread, Biscuits, Pizza, Burger etc), Stale food, oily - fried food, No Curds, No non-veg, especially at night ( for at least 5 days)
- If having good hunger then one can also eat chapati of Jowar, Bajri, Wheat.
- In CHIKUNGUNYA OR DENGUE OR IN FACT IN ANY KIND OF FEVER, STRICTLY AVOID MEDICINES LIKE IBUPROFEN, DICLOFENAC, ASPIRIN. As these may lower fever fast but very dangerous as they can increase the risk of bleeding.
- For high fever, take only Tab or Suspension (for kids) of PARACETAMOL, as per your physicians' guidance.
- Drink plenty of water, liquid as in these diseases body gets dehydrated very quickly and this dehydration is more dangerous than the low platelet counts.
- Every two hours, one glass of boiled and cooled water or soup or coconut water or Pomegranate juice or Mosambi juice or Lemon juice to be taken. BUT STRICTLY AVOID AERATED COLD DRINKS.