West Nile Virus (WNV) Treatment in Glendale, CA
Do you have a fever, headache, muscle pain, nausea, and dizziness after getting mosquito bites? It could be West Nile Virus (WNV) infection, a potentially dangerous disease spread by mosquito bites. While WNV can resolve on its own, severe WNV can cause tremors or convulsions and can be dangerous to the very old, very young, and people with weak immune systems.
While there is no vaccine or medication to prevent or treat the virus, its symptoms can be treated if diagnosed early. West Nile Virus has a good outlook if diagnosed and treated quickly. To speak with a West Nile Virus specialist today in Glendale, call (424) 365-1800 or contact Dr. Jeremy Fischer online.
What are the symptoms of West Nile Virus infection?
About 80% of people with West Nile Virus will not show any symptoms and may not even know they are infected. About 1 in 5 (20% of) people who are infected will develop symptoms within three to 14 days after infection (the West Nile Virus incubation period).
Common signs and symptoms of West Nile Virus include:
- nausea and vomiting
- body aches
- loss of vision
- excessive sweating
Less common symptoms include a West Nile Virus rash and swollen lymph glands.
About 1 out of 150 (less than 1% of) infected people develop a serious inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) or spinal cord. Severe WNV symptoms include:
- high fever
- neck stiffness
- disorientation or stupor
- tremors or convulsions
Severe WNV can last for several weeks. In some cases, WNV can cause permanent brain damage or death.
Risk factors that can increase your chances of developing severe WNV symptoms include being older than 60 years, as well as having:
What causes West Nile Virus infection?
West Nile Virus transmission occurs through mosquito bites. When a mosquito bites an infected bird and sucks its blood, the mosquito then becomes a vector (carrier) of the virus. When the mosquito then bites a human, it transmits the virus. Though uncommon, transmission can also happen through blood or organ transfusion and (rarely) breast feeding or pregnancy.
You cannot become infected with WNV by:
- coughing or sneezing
- touching people or animals (including live or dead birds)
- eating infected birds or animals
How Is West Nile Virus diagnosed?
In most cases, your healthcare provider can diagnose West Nile infection with a simple blood test to detect WNV antibodies or genetic material. Imaging tests like an MRI or CT scan can detect brain swelling. Lumbar puncture or spinal tap helps your provider collect a sample of your spinal fluid and test it for elevated white blood cell levels.
How is West Nile Virus infection treated?
Most patients with West Nile Virus make a full recovery without any medical treatment. For those who display symptoms, treatment for West Nile involves over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen to treat headaches and muscle aches.
Treatment for severe cases of WNV can include hospitalization with intravenous fluids and respiratory support. Side effects of intravenous fluids can include swelling and increased heart rate.
Scientists are also studying an immune cell therapy called interferon therapy to determine whether it can treat encephalitis. Though research is ongoing, the following treatments have been used to treat severe WNV cases:
- polyclonal immunoglobulin intravenous (IGIV) to help the immune system fight infections
- interferon, which can enhance the immune system
- ribavirin, an antiviral medication
- corticosteroids like methylprednisolone to modify the immune system and treat inflammation
Holistic remedies for West Nile Virus include:
- garlic: detoxifies and cleanses the lymphatic system
- astragalus root: stimulates white blood cell creation
- rosemary: neutralizes viruses
- echinacea: an effective immune stimulant
- ginger: detoxifies the body and stimulates kidneys
When applying the holistic approach, you must avoid sugar and grains and get as much sun as possible, because vitamin D helps regulate the immune system.
As with any treatment, results will vary from patient to patient depending on age, genetics, environmental conditions, and other health factors.
How can West Nile Virus infection be prevented?
While there is no vaccine available, West Nile Virus prevention methods include:
- use insect repellent
- wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and socks to prevent mosquito bites
- wearing lighter colored clothing
- eliminating standing water around your home, where mosquitos lay eggs
- place mosquito screens on doors and windows
- avoid heavily scented soaps and perfumes that can attract mosquitoes
- avoid going outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquito activity peaks
Other prevention methods can include the surveillance of dead birds and the screening of blood products to halt the spread of the virus.1
Reserve your appointment now
Though West Nile infections are uncommon, there are many ways of treating it. However, getting medical attention is a good idea so you can avoid potentially dangerous health complications.
1. Asadi, Leyla, and Paul E. Bunce. “West Nile Virus Infection.” CMAJ?: Canadian Medical Association Journal 185.18 (2013): E846. PMC. Web. 28 June 2018.
Vitality Integrative Medicine
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