Dengue – Everything You Need To Know About It


Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection which makes you suffer from flu-like symptoms. It is mainly transmitted by the bite of Aedes aegypti mosquito. However, Aedes aegypti is not the main cause of disease; it’s the vector that plays a major role in transmitting the virus.

Dengue is known by many names. It is more popularly known as ‘Breakbone Fever’, as the person with dengue fever experiences severe joint pains which make the condition worse. Dengue fever is considered as a chronic illness and, if it is left untreated or diagnosed lately, can cause a person to lose his life.

When To See A Doctor:          

Dengue causes flu-like symptoms and infection is suspected with a high fever (above 40°C) and some other common symptoms which may include severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, nausea and vomiting, and rash.

The symptoms of dengue are quite identical to the signs and symptoms of typhoid and malaria. So, sometimes, it may cause a delay in diagnosing it accurately. The doctor will consider and assess the prevailing symptoms and the medical and travel history of the person and may also recommend some blood tests to confirm the diagnosis. Usually, the symptoms of dengue may begin affecting you 4 to 10 days after the bite of an infected mosquito and they may last for around 2 to 7 days.

Treatment For Dengue:

Dengue is a virus, so there is no specific treatment or no specific medicine or antibiotic to treat it. We can only treat the symptoms, which can provide symptomatic relief purely. In addition to the medicines for symptomatic relief, doctors suggest a strict diet for dengue patients for a fast recovery. With a diet customized for dengue patients, it is possible to overcome the ailment and live a healthy and sustaining life.

Diet For Dengue Patients:

The diet for dengue patients usually includes green vegetables, proteins, and plenty of intake of fluids. Additionally, the following food items can be included in the diet for rapid recovery.

1. Papaya:

Papaya has many medicinal properties. Papaya leaves are one of the finest options. The leaves of papaya comprise papain, phenolic compounds, and alkaloids and these nutrients act as strong antioxidants which, in turn, enhance the body’s immunity. The extract from papaya leaves triggers faster platelet production in dengue patients. Simply crush papaya leaves and squeeze them to extract its juice. Also, you can boil papaya leaves in water and drink the solution. It is the best home remedy to recover from dengue fever.

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2. Spinach:

Spinach is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and iron, and it helps to improve the immune system to a great extent. Spinach is rich in vitamin K, potassium, and iron. Consuming spinach on a daily basis is an effective way to increase the platelet count. It is also rich in phytonutrients, such as carotene B and Lutein zeaxanthin all of which play a vital role in maintaining the electrolyte balance, in maintaining RBC count and detoxifying the body.

3. Pomegranate:

Pomegranate is abundant in minerals and many essential nutrients, which provide your body with all the necessary energy. It is a rich source of iron and is beneficial for human blood. The consumption of pomegranate reduces the feeling of fatigue and exhaustion. Also, it helps to maintain a normal blood platelet count which is essential to recover from dengue fever.

4. Oranges:

Orange is one of the beneficial fruits for patients suffering from dengue. This is because it is naturally rich in vitamin C and can help in the fast recovery of antibodies. Vitamin C is an effective antioxidant. It triggers the production of collagen and is effective in boosting the immune system. Oranges comprise high fiber content which makes them beneficial to treat indigestion as well. Add this juicy and tangy fruit to your diet today if you want to hit the road to recovery soon. You can prefer consuming lemons, oranges, and sweet limes in a well-processed form.

5. Porridge:

The delicious cereal or dalia (the Indian name for it) is a popular breakfast option all around the world. Pureed, soft foods are suggested as they are easily digestible. Porridge can be swallowed easily, and it also contains plenty of rich fluids. The high fiber content and high nutrient content in porridge help the patients of dengue to combat the disease. Its high fiber and nutrient value ensure that you get adequate strength to fight the disease. So, make sure you eat a lot of porridge when you are down with dengue.

6. Coconut Water:

Dengue often causes dehydration and, in such cases, coconut water is one of the best options to treat it. Coconut water is a natural source of water, essential minerals, and electrolytes. So, it is an important dietary supplement for patients suffering from dengue. The intake of coconut water helps regulate the fluid levels in the body and prevent the risk of dehydration. So, you should definitely include coconut water in your diet while recuperating from dengue.

7. Ginger Water:

Another excellent source of minerals and fluids for dengue patients is ginger water. Ginger water is a great remedy to minimize the effects of nausea, and it helps the patients overcome the ill-effects of this disease.

8. Herbal Tea:

Having herbal teas is beneficial in minimizing the symptoms of dengue fever. Choose flavors, such as cardamom, peppermint, or ginger. Ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics which help reduce the dengue fever. An herbal tea brewed with the leaves of Euphorbia hirta or asthma-plant helps to recover from dengue.

9. Soups and Boiled Food:

Having soup is a wonderful and delectable way to ease the symptoms of dengue. Dengue patients must consume soup prepared from different vegetables so that proteins, minerals, and vitamins are maintained in the body. If needed, mashed boiled food can be offered with a little seasoning. It helps induce hunger and relieve you of the joint pain. Soups are low in spices and excellent for digestion and bowel movements.

10. Fruit & Vegetable Juices:

You can treat the symptoms of dengue by consuming fresh vegetables and fruit juices. Carrots, cucumber, and other leafy greens juices should be included in your diet as these vegetables are replete with essential vitamins and minerals that help boost immunity and reduce the sufferings of the patient. In addition to vegetable juices, fruits juices of orange, pineapple, strawberry, guava, and kiwi also help boost the production of lymphocytes, which fight the viral infection. So, make sure you include fresh fruit juices when suffering from dengue.

11. Broccoli:

Another essential food suggested to dengue patients is broccoli, which is an excellent source of vitamin K that helps to reproduce blood platelets. If there is an immense decline in the platelet count, broccoli must be consumed on a daily basis. Broccoli also contains rich levels of minerals and antioxidants.

Dos And Don’ts For Dengue Patients:

Dos:

  • Have large quantities of healthy fluids with a light diet.
  • Include high fiber foods, such as whole grain cereals, green leafy vegetables, and thick skin fruits, in your regular diet.
  • Have a complete bed rest.
  • Do repeated blood tests, as they are necessary to monitor hematocrit and platelet counts.

Don’ts:

  • Do not take any NSAIDs or Aspirin for the pain or fever in dengue, as NSAIDs worsen the plasma leakage and Aspirin acts as a blood thinner.
  • Do not consume any medication for treating symptoms or fever without a doctor’s prescription.
  • Do not delay your treatment for dengue, particularly, symptoms, such as red spots, black stools, bleeding from any site, frequent vomiting, excessive drowsiness, paleness of the skin, and breathlessness occur.
  • Do not have coffee, tea, cocoa, and other caffeinated beverages in excess.
  • Do not consume fried foods, processed foods, junk foods, oily and spicy foods, and pickles.

Preventive Measures For Dengue:

There is no vaccine available to prevent dengue, and, also, there are no specific medications to treat the infection of dengue. So, the prevention of dengue becomes the most crucial step. And, prevention of dengue means to avoid the bites of mosquitoes, particularly if you reside in or are travelling to an endemic area. As an important preventive measure, you can minimize or regulate the exposure to the mosquitoes with the following measures.

  • Use mosquito-repellent machines and skin-friendly mosquito repellants.
  • Wear protective clothing with a complete covering
  • If you have household items, such as birdbaths, bowls, flower vases, and other utensils, which contain water, change or replace the water in them regularly. This is because these household items turn to be stagnant water sourced for the breeding of dengue-mosquitoes.
  • If you have water coolers in your house, add kerosene oil to the water in them. The addition of kerosene creates a barrier for respiration, and the larvae or the eggs laid by the mosquitoes get killed due to suffocation.
  • Stay in a well-screened housing
  • Avoid water storage at nearby places
  • If anyone in your home is suffering from dengue, take extra care to prevent the mosquitoes from biting the affected dengue-patient and it continues to bite the other people in the household. Choose to sleep under a mosquito bed net to avoid mosquito bites. Wear repellent, and eliminate mosquitoes present indoors.

Homeopathic Prophylaxis:

Homeopathic medicines are proving to be quite effective in treating dengue cases, and they help you have a great symptomatic relief. These medicines are made of natural substances, so they are completely safe with no side-effects, and have shown effective recovery in thousands of dengue cases. Avoid self-medication, instead consult a qualified Homeopath for appropriate selection of the homeopathic medicine for dengue fever.

Dengue can turn into a critical life-threatening condition; hence it should not be treated only with homeopathy, hospital supervision of the patient is very essential.

Also Read: Could my fever be Dengue Fever?

If any of your family members or a loved one is suffering from Dengue fever, make sure that they receive proper care and are treated timely and appropriately. Proper care and prevention can help save the lives of many patients.

– Written by Dr. Shraddha J, Associate doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah

 

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