Dealing with the after-effects of chikungunya on the skin

Besides fever and joint pain, skin rashes are the most common issue faced by recovering patients

Not just chikungunya management, doctors are advising that people who are on the road to recovery after the ailment need to take special care of their skin and immunity to ensure a good quality of life, and a faster and full recovery.

Dengue, malaria and chikungunya, caused due to the Aedes mosquitoes, are characterised by prolonged fever, joint pain, and body-ache. Although these are some of the common symptoms, it is the after-effects and consequences that affect the health of the person dramatically. Skin rashes are the most common issue. If aggravated, they lead to melasma or facial hyperpigmentation due to extensive scratching over the area.

According to C.M. Guri, dermatologist, Venus Clinic: “Skin rashes occur in every viral infection. The rash is asymptomatic in about 80 per cent of patients, and the remainder may complain of mild itching of the skin. The eruption most frequently appears on the first two days of the onset of fever, but may appear simultaneously with fever or after fever subsides. Though itching lasts only for five to six days, in some cases, people often complain of hyperpigmentation on face nose, sun allergy (burning when going out in sun) and ulcers after the fever subsides. Therefore, it is important to take precautionary steps during this phase to avoid serious skin issues.”

Dr. Guri added: “chikungunya is a cause of hyperpigmentation. Among my patients — 10 per cent to 20 per cent have this problem. People suffering with chikungunya exhibit rashes on extremities like neck, earlobe, trunk, etc., while skin rashes in dengue resembles measles.”

Although various treatment and medications are available for these diseases, there is no specific solution to the problem of skin rashes. In this scenario, dermatologist Rohit Batra suggested some tips to soothe the skin rash and relieve the recovering patient of pain.

“Some simple rules would be to avoid going out in the sun. If one must go out, apply a good quantity of sunscreen. Avoid eating citrus fruits and foods, and eat anti-allergic medicines to get relief from itching and skin rashes. Avenanthramides in oats can reduce inflammation. Make a paste of oatmeal and mix it with warm water. Apply this paste for at least 15 minutes to get instant relief. Aloe vera also soothes the skin naturally and helps eliminate itching and swelling. Extra virgin olive oil promotes skin renewal. A combination of honey and olive oil is a great skin moisturiser. Cold compress works wonders in case the skin rash starts developing into a blister. However, avoid applying ice directly on the skin as it may cause tissue damage,” he added. The doctors while opting for these remedies is a good idea, it is also important to inhibit the growth of the deadly virus at the initial stage itself. Maintain hygiene around your area, don’t store water openly and visit your doctor as soon as you identify the symptoms.

Health experts said neem and amla also help boost the immune system, along with cooling down the body internally. Indian gooseberry is a rich source of vitamin C and carries with it essential minerals and amino acids that could be beneficial in case of cough, cold, flu, etc.

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