The Effectiveness Of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy In The Management Of Post-Acute Zika Infection
By Dr. Michele R. Reillo
Zika is a virus which is transmitted by mosquito bites and sexual contact with a person who has been infected. It is a growing concern worldwide, affecting over two billion people.
Many people who contract Zika are unaware that they have been infected. Other people develop a flu-like sickness, with fever, rash, painful joints, fatigue, changes in vision, and foggy thinking. Others develop very severe problems with balance, convulsions, and paralysis, called Guillian-Barre syndrome, a life-threatening disorder. People who suspect that they may have been infected by a mosquito or a sexual partner who has had Zika, should see their physician immediately so that they can be tested.
Typical treatment involves rest and fluids. If a person cannot stand or has loss of consciousness or weakness in his/her limbs, immediate transport to the emergency room is necessary. These symptoms may indicate that the Zika virus has caused brain and spinal cord problems, which are critical. Many people who have had Zika describe a lingering tiredness, loss of appetite, unclear thinking, joint pain, and decreased vision.
The purpose of the study at the Neubauer Neurologic Hyperbaric Center was to see if using low pressure hyperbaric oxygen therapy would help improve these persistent symptoms after Zika infection. We studied ten people who had Zika and gave them ten treatments of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves breathing 100% oxygen in a pressurized, clear chamber. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is given by a doctor and highly trained professionals and is a safe and comfortable experience.
All ten people with Zika experienced relief from the severe fatigue. weight loss, appetite loss, foggy thinking, decreased vision, and joint pain that had developed when they had Zika infection. Some patients, who also had Dengue, another virus transmitted by mosquitoes, also experienced relief from the anemia that was caused by the virus.
The results of the study indicate that hyperbaric oxygen therapy is helpful for people who have had Zika and continue to experience fatigue and joint pain and neurological problems. The Neubauer Neurologic Hyperbaric Center offers consultation for those who have continuing symptoms such as fatigue, memory loss, diminshed vision, and neurological problems caused by Zika, Dengue, West Nile Virus, HIV/AIDS, and Lyme disease.