Recovering from the West Nile Virus
BY JACQUI D. SINARLE
It didn’t take a diagnosis of West Nile virus to teach Modesto’s Sarah Fields about the value of friends and family, but the illness has made her treasure them even more.
And while her health care team has been essential to Fields’ battle with West Nile, the support of her family and friends has also played a priceless role in her recovery.
“Without a doubt, hope, support from loved ones, and my faith have helped me through this journey,” Fields says. “Of course, finding a medical team that was willing to truly care for my health and partner in my recovery process has been a tremendous blessing and critical element. My recovery has had so much to do with a combination of hope, faith, professional treatment and hard work.”
Fields was a full-time vice president of marketing for a national company, an actively involved member of the community, and a busy wife and mother of two young children when she was diagnosed with West Nile virus in June 2014.
She credits Tremayne Medical Center with developing a comprehensive plan for her recovery, including appropriate pain control and therapies to improve her symptoms which included extreme fatigue, pain and limited use of her left foot and leg.
“The treatment plan was not only beneficial to me physically as my muscles had begun to atroph and tighten causing even further limitations, but the ongoing treatment and follow up has been a tremendous encouragement to me emotionally,” Fields explains. “It helps to keep me motivated and working toward a full recovery.”
Three months after the West Nile diagnosis Fields was preparing to return to work and continuing the recovery process with chiropractics/neuromuscular therapy, stretching, core strengthening exercises, yoga and Pilates.
“When you’re facing a time of recovery from any illness, be cautious to maintain boundaries and allow your body to fully recover before really engaging in full-time life or before allowing life to creep back in and take over,” she advises. “It’s so important to allow your body to get well.”
Fields hopes that increased public awareness of West Nile will prompt communities to prevent mosquito infestations; drive patients to seek comprehensive recovery plans that include therapy, nutrition and supplements; inspire physicians to offer comprehensive medical advice; and spur researchers to develop a human vaccine to protect vulnerable populations.
“It’s also important to be aware of those suffering the repercussions of the virus, or any heath issue for that matter,” she adds. “I was blessed with an incredible network of friends and family who offered extensive support.” “People need other people in order to maintain a positive outlook and push for recovery,” Fields concludes. “It is a lesson I won’t forget.”
THE BEST WAY TO REDUCE YOUR RISK OF WEST NILE VIRUS IS TO AVOID MOSQUITO BITES.
• Apply insect repellent containing DEET to exposed skin when you go outdoors, and stay indoors during peak mosquito biting hours from dusk to dawn.
• Mosquito-proof your home by draining standing water and installing or repairing door and window screens.
• Reduce the threat of West Nile in your community by reporting dead birds to local authorities, participating in your local mosquito control program (in Modesto, it’s the East Side Mosquito Abatement District) and joining neighborhood cleanup days to control mosquito breeding sites.