Chikungunya In Your Child - Signs Causes & Treatment
Created by Parentune Support Updated on Jun 13, 2021
Young children love to play outdoors in parks and near ponds, which makes them more prone to being bitten by mosquitoes. These bites, though mostly harmless, may sometimes carry viruses that are known to cause dangerous disease like dengue fever. Chikungunya is also one such mosquito borne infection. It gets its name form an African word that means ‘to be twisted and bent” because of the severe joint pain that it can cause. Read on to find out more about this disease and how it can be managed.
Cause Of Chikungunya
Chikungunya is caused by a virus that is carried in the saliva of certain specific mosquito species.
- These mosquitoes breed in stagnant water and bite mainly during the day especially early mornings/late afternoons.
- The symptoms of chikungunya become obvious after an incubation period of two to twelve days.
Chikungunya Symptoms In Children
Here are some common symptoms of Chikungunya to watch out for:
- High temperature that comes on suddenly.
- Pain in joints, particularly in the arms and legs.
- Skin rash, usually starts 2-3 days after fever sets in.
Chikungunya can affect children more severely than adults. Babies with chikungunya may be very irritable and cry much more than usual. Newborn babies and children with pre-existing medical conditions are most likely to develop the rare but severe complications such as jaundice, fits, kidney failure.
Course Of The Illness
The infection usually lasts for a few days to two weeks. Tiredness usually carries on for several weeks but the joint pain can sometimes persist for months.
Management Of Chikungunya
Chikungunya infection is confirmed by a blood test that checks for antibodies against the virus.
- Treatment is supportive - Let your child have ample of rest to speed up recovery.
- Give plenty of fluids and water to prevent the risk of dehydration.
- Appropriate doses of medications such as paracetamol and painkillers may be given for fever and pain.
How Can We Prevent Chikungunya?
Unfortunately, there is no vaccine yet against chikungunya. Therefore, the best bet is to prevent mosquitoes from biting your child. Here are some things that you can do:
- Eliminate stagnant water: Make sure your house and surrounding areas are free of any stagnant water especially in the monsoon season.
- Protective clothing: Make your child wear long-sleeved clothing and full length lowers when out to play. Choose light coloured and lightweight fabrics to keep him comfortable.
- Repellents: Use an age-appropriate mosquito repellent.
- Nets: Precautions need to be taken indoors as well. Use mosquito nets while sleeping, even for daytime naps.
- Protect the house: Install wire meshes on windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering the house.
- Air-conditioned areas: Stay in air-conditioned or cool areas and if you use an air cooler, regularly clean and change its water.
- Care for infected members: Take care that an infected member of your family doesn’t suffer from any further exposure to mosquitoes, since mosquito biting him/her can spread the infection to other family members.
While Chikungunya is a deadly disease that can cause immense discomfort and weakness, there are ways in which we can prevent it from affecting our children. Practicing proper prevention techniques can help keep the disease at bay.
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