DENGUE FEVER-The most trending and dreadful topic in the recent days.Everyday news will definitely have a large coverage about this and I feel so painful and distressed on seeing the loss of lives to this vector borne disease .I have seen so many queries about this disease in social media in the recent days and the pain of the parents/patients is totally intolerable.We come across numerous new diseases everyday ,hence I feel it is best to be aware about them.I usually keep reading a lot about any trending diseases just to keep myself aware of the symptoms.I myself was diagnosed of dengue few years back and believe me dengue was not so prevalent those times like now but I was affected and it was never less than a battle for life.I somehow caught the infection while traveling.When I was sharing few of the insights I had learnt and I had gained through my personal experience to my friends and my neighbours,they insisted me to detail it up on my blog so that it reaches a larger audience.I have put my best efforts to share all my knowledge about this DENGUE.I hope it would help all of you .Please share this with your family and friends especially to our daily helpers/people who are unaware of these.This is definitely not equivalent to any professional medical advice.
WHAT IS DENGUE FEVER?
Dengue Fever is caused by viruses which is transmitted by a mosquito called “Aedes Aegyptia” . This mosquito usually breeds and multiplies in water and bites us during the day time only unlike the malaria mosquito “Anopheles”. Dengue is a viral fever but it develops into a very severe level if it is not recognized early and not treated properly.Dengue fever can be fatal in some cases because of the sudden drop of platelets level and internal bleeding.
WHO CAN BE AFFECTED?
Anybody can be affected by this disease from a new-born to any elderly person who is exposed to mosquitoes. It can spread only through mosquitoes.So if a mosquito which has bitten any dengue patient bites someone ,he/she is also likely to be affected by dengue. However newborns,children and aged people always fall an easy prey to the severe level of dengue.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
- High temperature (Above 102)
- Loss of Appetite
- Severe Body Pain
- Abdominal pain
- Body Rashes
- Bleeding of gums/nose
- Extreme Muscle Pain
Please consult your doctor if you have any of the symptoms above.Kindly don’t delay consultation and blood tests.
SYMPTOMS IN BABIES/KIDS:
- Temperature higher than 102 F.
- Inconsolable crying
- Abnormal behaviours
- Unable to move or play
- Vomiting anything and everything.
Please rush to your pediatrician on the first fever episode.Please don’t wait for even 24 hours if you have dengue occurrences in your close proximity. Please don’t ignore any symptoms.
HOW DOES IT SPREAD?
As mentioned earlier it is basically caused by viruses but spread through mosquitoes. So the main key to stay away from dengue is to prevent the mosquito breeding.India is one of the places where dengue is most widely spread because of the increasing population,lack of sanitary measures and lack of awareness and we are becoming land of mosquitoes these days.
WHEN DOES IT OCCUR?
Dengue mostly spreads between June-November when the rainy season begins and the mosquitoes usually bite during daytime and during the late evening times around 5-6 p.m and 8-9 a.m.
WHY DOES IT TURN TO BE FATAL?
Dengue fever sometimes becomes fatal and leads to death because of improper treatment or late diagnosis/treatment or lack of awareness in most cases. This fever becomes a hemorrhagic fever because it causes sudden decrease in platelet count within minutes of infection.I was admitted with 2 lakh count and within half an hour it went below a lakh. If I was not admitted at the right time and not administered the intravenous fluids I might have also had entered the danger zone.So please don’t be hesitant to rush to a doctor and check your blood count when you feel any of the above symptoms and a fever that doesn’t subside/a fever which subsides on medication and shoots up after stopping medicines.Please don’t refuse to get blood tests done frequently during that period.It is only in a matter of few seconds this viral fever becomes fatal and takes lives.It is also called break-bone fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever .
HOW TO PREVENT DENGUE?
As i have mentioned above the best and first thing to do about preventing dengue is to stay away from mosquitoes.There is no vaccine for prevention of dengue so far. I will be discussing the ways to prevent mosquitoes below.Apart from trying to prevent breeding of mosquitoes the following measures can be taken to protect oneself from dengue
- Avoid staying outdoors especially near lawns,backyards,under the trees,near water bodies during the period in which the mosquitoes spread.
- Keep all windows,doors,ventilators closed/covered with nets between 4.30 p.m to 8 a.m possibly.
- Dress your little ones in full sleeve shirts and pants during this season.
- It is best to isolate a dengue affected person though it is not contagious.But the chances of the infection being passed by a mosquito is possible.Dengue doesn’t spread from a person to person directly.
- Rush to doctor if you any of the above mentioned symptoms .Don’t wait or ignore any fever if you are aware of dengue outbreak in your surroundings.
- Practice healthy eating habits and healthy lifestyle to improve and boost immunity.
- Having foods rich in Vitamin C(lemon,mozambi,guava,kiwi) is advised for improving immunity.
- Siddha medicine recommends usage of Nilavembu Kudineer and papaya leaf extract for 3 days to prevent dengue.Kindly consult a doctor before using them for a dengue patient as the dosage and period of administration definitely needs a medical advice.
- Eating green leafy vegetables will help in improving immunity.
- Include atleast one Vitamin C rich food in your daily food(Amla/Oranges/Sweet Lime/Lime/Guava/Kiwi)
- Try using spices like shallots,garlic,ginger,coriander and pepper in your daily food.
- Include natural herbal concoctions like tulsi infused water,dry ginger+coriander seeds tea weekly once or twice regularly.
HOW TO KEEP MOSQUITOES AWAY?
- Ensure that the doors,windows,ventilators are sealed properly using nets . Block the entry of mosquitoes through any possible way.
- Avoid storing water in any open containers/vessels.
- Always ensure water is not stored for a long time.
- Keep empty buckets,containers,vessels upside down when not in use.
- Keep the western closets closed when not in use.
- Don’t allow garbage to be collected in open places.
- Use close dustbins instead of open bins.
- Clear garbage periodically.
- Ensure the drainage systems are completely sealed and not exposed.
- Never allow water to get stagnated in any pit/hole/coconut shells/unused tyres.
- Change the water used in flower pots regularly.
- Do not allow water to get collected in the trays of potted plants.
- If you use coolers ensure that the water is regularly emptied.
- Planting herbal plants like tulsi,nochi will keep away mosquitoes.
- Place garlic pods/crushed garlic on open window panes.This will avoid mosquitoes entry.
- I would suggest not to use chemical sprays/repellents/creams/coils regularly. Instead prefer natural ones.
- Applying neem oil+Coconut oil on skin will save your kids from mosquito bites.
- Using Citronella oil candles/extracts will keep mosquitoes away.
- Applying tea tree oil or using few drops in vapouriser is a natural way to keep mosquitoes away.
- Use lavender oil extract/crushed mint leaves as natural room fresheners as a natural way to escape from mosquitoes.
- Stay completely covered when you are outdoors.
- Fumigate indoors and outdoors on a regular basis.
- Invite the municipal authorities to do periodical fogging.
- If you live in apartments/societies ensure periodical fogging and no stagnation of water and open dust bins.
HOW TO TREAT DENGUE?
There is no specific treatment for dengue.The treatment is more about supportive and not with the exact drugs.It is all about staying hydrated and not getting into a situation where the platelet count drops.It is best to reach out to the doctor as early as possible if you find any of the above symptoms and if the fever keeps shooting up with extreme fatigue .Hospitalization is advised in most of the cases to keep avoid dehydration and monitoring the platelet count. It is generally treated with the usual fever medicines,lots of fluids and complete rest. The patient will feel extremely weak after recovery. So I would suggest to stay on healthy frequent small meals after recovery. Refrain from junks food and unhealthy habits totally for a minimum for 4-6 weeks.
WARNING/ALARMING SIGNS(As suggested by NVBDCP and CDC website)
- Red spots or points on the skin
- Bleeding from the nose or gums
- Frequent vomiting
- Vomiting with blood
- Black stools
- Constant crying
- Abdominal pain
- Excessive thirst (dry mouth)
- Pale, cold or clammy skin
- Difficulty in breathing
ADD ON HOME REMEDIES :
Dengue fever shouldn’t be ignored.It definitely needs proper medical care.Kindly don’t try to treat it by yourself with any home remedies or other medicines.Please rush to the nearest hospital or doctor if you feel any of the symptoms mentioned.All below mentioned natural home remedies are only add-on to medical treatments
- Drinking papaya leaves juice for 3 to 5 days will accelerate recovery.
- Consuming Nilavembu Kudineer thrice a day for 3-7 days will cure the disease .It is said to be one of the primary medicines to fight against this disease and also helps in preventing dengue.
- Having 5-10 tulsi/basil leaves with 2 pepper corns will aid in combating the fever.
- Chewing coriander leaves or using concoction of coriander seeds will strengthen up the patient.
- Soups with crushed garlic and pepper is recommended.
- Turmeric helps in quick healing.
- Pomegranate juice and juice of black seeded grapes will help in improving the blood count.
Apart from the above please follow the diet recommendations mentioned below.
WHAT FOODS CAN BE GIVEN TO DENGUE PATIENTS?
- Breastfeed/Formula for babies
- Rice Gruel
- Rice Porridge/Any light porridges
- Warm Soups with garlic and a drop of lemon juice
- Tender Coconut Water
- All natural fruit juices
- Turmeric Milk
- Butter Milk
- Steamed light foods
- Lukewarm water
Most dengue patients might not be able to eat orally.So plenty of liquid foods in small quantities every 2 hours is recommended. When it comes to babies below 6 months breastfeed or formula feed as much as possible. Have a check on urine output.When I was down with dengue my doctor advised me to get hospitalised immediately and started on IV.Along with IV I was advised to have lots of liquid foods like rice gruel,broken rice porridge,tender coconut,all natural fruit juices,all mild soups,lots of plain water,mild herbal concoctions . I was able to recover in 5 days because I managed to take 7-8 litres of liquids apart from the intravenous fluids. This will help in controlling the dehydration and improving the platelet count.I really avoided blood transfusion only because of such a huge liquid intake. If you have a dengue fever it might not be possible to eat any solids. It is best to stay on bland and non-spicy fluid diet. Please find the details of recipes of foods here.
DO’S & DON’T’s OF DENGUE FEVER:
- Don’t delay hospitalization and administration of medical treatments.
- Have lukewarm soups and water at regular intervals.This will help in controlling dehydration and preventing chills.
- Sponging is recommended to reduce temperature.
- Avoid taking chilled and spicy foods.
- Prefer to stay at room temperatures.
- Avoid spicy foods,caffeine,junk foods and sugary foods .
- Don’t increase or decrease the intake of liquids suddenly/rapidly.
- Complete bed rest is strictly recommended.
- Constant medical supervision and regular monitoring for platelet loss is a must for babies ,toddlers,adults and elders.
- Personal hygiene should be maintained well.
- Surroundings should be kept neat and tidy.
- Have check on the liquid intake and output periodically.
- Avoid self medication or over the counter medicines.
- Caretakers/family members of patients should ensure that they sanitise themselves before and after visiting the dengue affected person.
- Kindly isolate the patient and ensure that no mosquitoes bite him/her and spreads it further.
- Keep the patient completely covered with light coloured clothes.
- Avoid tight clothing for the dengue patients.
- Please inform your municipal authority about the incidence of dengue.This would help them in taking out measures to destroy the mosquitoes in your neighborhood and prevent its further spreading.
SIGNS OF RECOVERY:
- Normal Temperature for more than 24 hours
- Appetite gain
- Better urination
- No evidence of external or internal bleeding
- Normal pulse rates,blood pressure etc
- No signs of dehydration and bleeding(internal &external)
- Stable Breathing
Few words from me:
I caught this infection in less than 20 days of my first dream job.It began with a severe nausea,vomiting and extremely high temperature.I met a doctor in my neighbourhood and he prescribed the usual fever medicines. I was alright for 4 hours and it began to rise high after that. I somehow managed to travel to my home town and it was a terrific train journey with temperature above 105 F and severe chills.All that I did till I reached my home was period intake of water and kanji.My family doctor suspected that it would have got spread through the mosquitoes in the water (stagnant in the coolers) or some colleague who was in the initial stages had passed the infection. It was because there was no incidence of dengue in my surroundings at large numbers then.So I would humbly request anybody with high temperatures or any infections to stay at home preferably isolated and get it cured with complete medical intervention. I was admitted in less than 24 hours and it was only because of that I was able to escape from platelet loss. So please don’t delay approaching medical care.Within 3 days I was improving as I managed to drink whatever my mom gave me.It was around 7-8 litres of liquids per day and there was no platelet count drop after 5 days. In 10 days I joined back to work.But I was extremely exhausted. Don’t give up the liquid intake and diet after recovery. Please cooperate with the community/municipality/corporation/government officials in all their effective measures taken to prevent mosquitoes. This was one major complaint and regret from the medical expert friends and municipal officials who visited me.One final word and my humble request to visitors ,neighbours,relatives ,”Please don’t judge the patient to be physically weak or less immune”.We never know the cause and this is not the time to judge and debate because the patient would be already fighting for life. Fighting for life is not as easy as what has been mentioned above. Please give lots of positivism and loads of strength,prayers,good wishes 🙂 It was after this incident I met some wonderful doctors and made some changes to my eating habits.I was able to see a huge change and my blog is based on those pointers only.To know more read here
I hope you found this useful.Do read and share with your friends.Pass on the essence of this article to people who are really in need of this information but not privileged to be informed. (Our maids,care takers,daily helpers,community workers).
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National Health Portal
WHO Dengue Prevention and Treatment Guidelines
Articles published in NDTV news,News7,Dinakaran,The Hindu Newspaper
David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
All the above pointers are based only on my experience and knowledge. I am definitely not an expert.Please keep in mind that what works for a baby/person might not work for another.None of the above points should be taken as a replacement to any medical/expert advice.Please consider your pediatrician’s advice,baby cues and family history of allergies before proceeding with any.Please don’t attempt any internal or external home remedies for babies less than 6 months.