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How to manage filariasis?

Q: Can the swelling caused (in the leg) by filaria be subsided like a normal leg by any method?

A:The treatment of filariasis consists of using medicines that kill the worms combined with the treatment to relieve the symptoms. Diethylcarbamazine or ivermectin are effective drugs in the treatment of most filarial infections. Other drugs include albendazole and mebendazole. Antihistamines or corticosteroids can decrease allergic reactions. In case of elephantiasis, one needs to take a yearly dose of medicine that kills the microscopic worms in the blood. This does not kill the adult worms, but it does prevent transmission of the disease to other persons. Even after the adult worms die, swelling of arms, legs, breasts, or genitals, may be present. One may keep the swelling from getting worse by:

  • Carefully washing the swollen area with soap and water everyday.
  • Using anti-bacterial anti-fungal creams on the wound.
  • Elevate and exercise the swollen arm or leg to move the retained fluid and improve lymph flow.
  • Use compression bandages to reduce accumulation of fluid in the legs.


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