Filariasis is a mosquito-borne parasitic infection caused due to Wuchereria bancrofti and Brugia malayi. It is commonly known as Elephantiasis.
India contributes about 40% of the total global burden. About 553 million people are at risk and approximately 21 million people are affected with filariasis. (Source: Epidemiology of lymphatic filariasis with special reference to urogenital-manifestations)
Filariasis spreads to you from an infected person through a mosquito bite. The parasite enters into your lymphatic system and multiplies.
Types of Filariasis
- Lymphatic filariasis.
- Subcutaneous filariasis.
- Serous cavity filariasis.
Signs and Symptoms of Filariasis
Initially, you will not notice any signs and symptoms. It may take a year or two for the manifestation of clinical features.
- Fever with chills.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Swelling of limbs and genitals.
- Thickening of skin and underlying tissues.
- Itching with skin rashes.
- Joint and muscular pain.
- Pain abdomen in serous cavity filariasis.
Management of Filariasis
In Ayurveda, Filariasis is termed as Shleepada.
- Shleepada Gajakesari rasa, Nityananda rasa, Pippali, Punarnava, Punarnava guggulu, Triphala guggulu, Kaishore guggulu, Arogyavardhini rasa, Medohar guggulu, etc are beneficial.
- Abhyanga with Vidangadi taila and lepa with Manjistha will reduce itching and inflammation.
- Treatment procedures like Swedana, Virechana, Lepa and Raktamokshana will help to reduce the swelling.
Dos and Don’ts
- Keep yourself warm.
- Do exercise to reduce swelling.
- Elevate your limbs while sleeping to reduce swelling.
- Restrict intake of milk and its products.
- Restrict consumption of cold water
- Avoid exposure to cold breeze.
- Include horse gram, barley, turmeric, moringa, bitter gourd and radish in your diet.
- Maintain personal hygiene, chances of bacterial and fungal infection is more and dangerous. You can wash the affected area with decoction prepared of triphala.
Prevention of Filariasis
- Wear full sleeve and full-length dress when going out during night time.
- Use a mosquito net while sleeping.
- Use mosquito repellants.
- Keep your surrounding tidy by removing garbage and stagnant water.
Even though Filariasis is not a life-threatening disease, early intervention is needed for the betterment of the patient. Once the disease becomes chronic it is very difficult to reduce the swelling.