Chikungunya’s been breathing it’s hot breath on our borders for a few years now—even appearing in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. Mostly, though, it’s a risk for travelers to sunny locales like Caribbean islands and Central and South America.
The usual warning about Chikungunya (Chik-V) is that it will ruin your holiday—spread by mosquito bites, the virus causes severe pain, with no treatment besides basic comforts. High fever, pain (especially in the joints), headache/neck pain, muscle ache, rash, and swelling, all of which pass in a few days… usually.
It turns out, Chikungunya has some similarities to Lyme Disease—a few people who get it will come down with chronic symptoms like joint pain. Even worse, a small percentage of people are at risk of dying.
Of course, as with almost every disease, people with weakened immune systems are at the biggest risk—the very young and the very old have been the most likely to come down with encephalitis (brain inflammation) which is where the risk of death comes from. Anyone who gets through Chikungunya should be monitored for signs of encephalitis (don’t ignore symptoms!).
Better yet is avoiding the virus altogether. If you’re traveling, either to the Southern US or South of the US, beware mosquito season—it’s dependent on the weather. So it’s short in the far north, and barely has a break in the far south. Avoiding a mosquito bite is the best prevention (and there are many other diseases you’re preventing).
Your second line of defense is making sure your immune system is strong—people with stronger immune systems fare through diseases quicker and better than those who don’t, and are less likely to have lingering problems. Faster healing also means less time for lasting damage.
How do you strengthen your immune system? Listen to your body. Sleep more when you’re tired, take breaks if you think you’re getting sick. Don’t skip nutritious, protein rich meals. And if you need an extra boost, add some colloidal silver to your day.
What are your thoughts on mosquito borne diseases? More are appearing in the US each year.