West Nile Fever – causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Thursday, July 12, 2018 by

West Nile fever (WNF) is an infectious disease that spreads when a patient is bitten by a mosquito that has previously bitten an infected bird. However, not all individuals that get bitten by infected mosquitoes develop the disease.

Rarely, the virus can spread through blood transfusions, breastfeeding, organ transplants, or pregnancy. WNF can’t be spread by direct physical contact (e.g., kissing or touching another person).

Individuals older than 60 and patients with weakened immune systems can develop severe cases of WNF. Patients can recover from the disease if they are diagnosed and treated immediately.

West Nile fever is also called West Nile virus (WNV).

Known symptoms of West Nile fever

Patients with West Nile fever usually experience signs about one to 14 days after they’re infected.

The signs of West Nile fever usually include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Appetite loss
  • Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
  • Fever, headache, and sore throat
  • Muscle pain
  • Rash
  • Swollen lymph nodes

The signs listed above typically last from three to six days, but they can also last for a month.

Depending on what body part is affected, a patient can also develop a severe form of WNF called West Nile encephalitis (WNE) or West Nile meningitis (WNM).

WNE and WNM may cause signs like:

  • Coma/Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion/being unable to think clearly
  • Muscle weakness
  • Stiff neck
  • Weakness of one arm or leg

Individuals with WNE/WNM who experience the signs listed above require immediate medical attention.

While any person bitten by an infected mosquito can develop WNF, less than one percent of them have severe or life-threatening symptoms.

Risk factors for the disease can include:

  • Age – People older than 60 tend to have severe symptoms.
  • Health – Medical conditions that may increase the risk for severe symptoms include cancer, diabetes, hypertension, an impaired immune system, and kidney conditions.

Body systems harmed by West Nile fever

West Nile fever may cause the following complications:

  • Encephalitis – This involves the inflammation of the brain.
  • Meningitis – This refers to the infection or inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain/meninges.
  • Serious disability or death – When the virus enters the bloodstream, it multiplies and crosses the blood-brain barrier. This breach will affect normal nervous system functioning, and it can cause serious disability or death.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent West Nile fever

The following foods or nutrients can help prevent West Nile fever or address its signs:

  • Astragalus root – A mild immune tonic, astragalus root can help stimulate the production of additional white blood cells. Boosting the immune system with this herb can help patients manage their symptoms before they worsen.
  • Dandelion root – This contains organic compounds that can help stimulate the liver and the lymphatic system so they can handle the pathogen, break it down into non-threatening materials, and flush out the viral toxins.
  • Echinacea – Echinacea is a potent immune stimulant. It can also stimulate the production of white blood cells. Additionally, echinacea has natural antibacterial and antiviral properties that can protect you from the virus.
  • Garlic – Garlic is full of organic compounds that can detoxify the body, stimulate the circulatory system, and help cleanse the lymphatic system (which can weaken due to a viral infection).
  • Rosemary – Rosemary has antiviral and diaphoretic properties that can help treat WNF. The herb has active ingredients that target viruses and neutralize them.

Treatments, management plans for West Nile fever

Since West Nile fever isn’t caused by bacteria, the disease can’t be cured. Supportive care may help minimize the risk of developing complications in patients with severe cases of WNF.

Taking these precautionary measures can also help lower the risk of getting mosquito bites that spread the infection:

  • Get rid of standing water around your home that may house mosquitoes.
  • Install screens in your home’s windows and doors to prevent mosquitoes from entering.
  • Keep your skin covered with long-sleeve shirts, pants, and socks.
  • Use mosquito netting, especially on playpens or strollers, to protect yourself and your children from mosquito bites.
  • Wear an organic but potent insect repellent.

Where to learn more

Summary

West Nile fever (WNF) is an infectious disease that spreads when a patient is bitten by a mosquito that has previously bitten an infected bird. However, not all individuals that get bitten by infected mosquitoes develop the disease.

The symptoms of West Nile fever usually include abdominal pain, appetite loss, and muscle pain.

West Nile fever may complications like encephalitis, meningitis, and serious disability or death.

Astragalus root, dandelion root, echinacea, garlic, and rosemary can help prevent West Nile fever or address its symptoms.

Since West Nile fever isn’t caused by bacteria, the disease can’t be cured. Supportive care may help minimize the risk of developing complications in patients with severe cases of WNF.

Sources include:

Healthline.com

MedlinePlus.com

BetterHealth.VIC.gov.au

OrganicFacts.net



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