What is Dengue (DENG-Gey) Fever?
It is a mosquito-borne viral infection. Mainly found in tropical and sub-tropical climates, it can spread rapidly in the urban poor areas, rural and suburban areas! It is caused by the Aedes mosquito. This is said to be one of the four related dengue viruses.
Even the World Health Organization (WHO) considers dengue as a major global challenge to public health in the tropic and subtropic nations. When it comes to the numbers, between 1960-2010, this disease has seen a 30-fold upsurge worldwide, as there has been a rapid increase in the population, global warming, inefficient mosquito control, lack of healthcare facilities, etc. These are just a few of the reasons that lead to dengue fever, there are many more, which we are not even aware of!
WHO has further provided statistics that state that before 1970, only 9 countries had experienced severe dengue epidemics, but today, there are more than 100 countries and the cases have reached approximately 390 million, among which 500,000 patients had to be admitted to the hospitals because of severe infection.
Wondering how many people have been affected by this deadly disease? The number is huge, we tell you! Approximately 2.5 billion people reside in areas that are affected by dengue and roughly 400 million infections occur in more than 100 countries on a yearly basis, including Europe and the United States of America (USA).
What are the symptoms or warning signs of dengue fever?
Firstly, many people do not show any symptoms or signs of dengue infection. When symptoms do occur, they may be mistaken for other diseases, such as the flu; however, the clear symptoms of dengue can be seen 4-10 days after you have been bitten by an infected mosquito.
It causes a very high fever, of up to 104℉ (40℃), along with the following symptoms:
- Muscle, Bone, and Joint pain.
- Swollen Glands.
- Pain behind the eyes.
Most of the people suffering from dengue are able to recover; however, for some, the symptoms worsen and the situation becomes life-threatening. This is called severe dengue, dengue hemorrhagic fever, or dengue shock syndrome.
Severe dengue takes place when your blood vessels are damaged, along with the fall of the number of clot-forming cells (platelets). This can lead to internal bleeding, shock, organ failure, or even death.
We wouldn’t want anything happening to us or our beloved organs now, would we? To keep them safe, we need to be more aware, and we’re here to do that! Make you aware! All you have to do is continue reading!
What are the types of dengue fever?
Dengue Hemorrhagic fever:
· Asian countries, Latin-American countries.
These few countries have become the leading countries for hospitalization and death among children and adults. This type of dengue has similar features to that of dengue fever, but it may take a turn for the worse, as and when compared to the former.
This type of dengue fever mostly takes place if the individual suffers from dengue more than once; however, this does not take place so regularly, as most of the patients recover quickly if they follow appropriate medical treatment.
What are its symptoms?
- Severe abdominal pain
- Persistent vomiting
- Rapid breathing
- Bleeding gums
- Restlessness and blood in vomit.
If you see any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is best to see your doctor and get the treatment required, because if ignored, it can lead to a deadly complication due to plasma leaking, respiratory diseases, severe bleeding, or even organ impairment.
Dengue Shock Syndrome:
Simply put, it is a more severe and dangerous complication of dengue infection, and it is associated with a higher mortality rate. It usually takes place after dengue hemorrhagic fever; however, the patient can survive, if and when given proper treatment.
What are its symptoms?
- Fever, or a history of acute fever that has lasted 2-7 days and occasionally occurs in 2 phases.
- Discoloration of the skin, or the formation of purple spots due to internal bleeding.
- Hemorrhagic tendencies.
- Blood in feces or vomit.
- Deficiency in blood platelet count (100000/mm3 or less).
- Evidence of plasma leakage.
The above-mentioned symptoms can worsen that can be manifested by,
- Rapid weak pulse,
- Narrow pulse pressure (<20mmHg)
- Abnormally low pressure as per your age, and
- Cold, clammy skin, and restlessness.
That’s scary, isn’t it? This isn’t all. There are other risk factors with dengue fever. We’ll tell you all about it! Hang in there.
- If you are a person who is involved in outdoor activities, then you are more prone to contracting dengue fever than those who are not so much into outdoor sports. This is because participation in outdoor sports increases the chances of mosquito bites, etc.
- If a person is affected by dengue, he/she can easily transmit the disease. In fact, high population density is a risk factor for dengue transmission.
- Experts have said that countries with a yearly average temperature of more than 18℃ have an increased risk of dengue infection.
- Poor daylight quality increases the likelihood of the infection because mosquitos prefer to inhabit poorly lit areas. As a result of this, the environments receiving insufficient daylight enhance the mosquito density, as it is the perfect place for the survival of mosquitos.
Dengue Fever: How to prevent it?
As there are no vaccines available in the market for treating dengue, the first step is to avoid getting mosquito bites.
The second is to use insect repellent that is registered with the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) with any of the ingredients mentioned below:
- Picaridin (known as KBR and Icaridin outside the US)
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
- Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
When used as directed, the EPA-registered insect repellents are proven effective and safe for children, pregnant, and breastfeeding women.
How to protect babies and children?
- Get them to wear clothing that covers their legs and arms.
- Cover their strollers and baby carriers with mosquito netting.
- When using mosquito repellent on your child:
1. Always follow the label instructions.
2. Do not use products containing Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE) or Para-Menthane-Diol (PMD) on children below 3 years.
3. Never apply insect repellent on your child’s hands, eyes, mouth, cuts, or irritated skin.
4. P.S. Spray the insect repellent onto your hands first then apply it to your child’s face.
What steps should be taken if you are affected by Dengue?
There are quite a few, but the major step would be to isolate yourself first, as it is a communicable disease.
- If you think you have dengue, get yourself checked by your healthcare provider.
- Get yourself checked for others for dengue or other similar viruses, such as Zika or Chikungunya.
- If you are sick with dengue, then either take paracetamol or acetaminophen to bring the fever under control or relieve your body of the pain.
- P.S. Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen.
- Get plenty of rest, drink your fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Stay in a well-air-conditioned room or under a bed-net while you have a fever.
Well, now that we have cleared out the various aspects related to dengue, it is now the time to clear out the food to be consumed when suffering from this deadly virus. Your dengue fever diet plays a significant role in helping you recover. If you eat healthy food, you may be able to recover faster.
We’ve mentioned a few of those below, to help ease out the pain and these will add up to make a big difference to your health.
- Liquid diet: Liquids such as coconut water, juices, soups, and lemon water can be a few of the best sources of energy and nutrients, as they are rich in vitamins and minerals! This even includes Goat Milk, as it is known to help in improving the symptoms of dengue fever. It contains selenium that helps in increasing the blood platelet count, which is mostly affected in dengue. Selenium contains enzymes, which provide protection from cellular damages, and it has anti-clotting effects. Consuming goat milk will help in reducing oxidative stress and improve the immune system, which is badly affected due to dengue fever.
To know more about how goat milk helps in dengue fever, click here!
- Soft diet: This type of diet provides the patient with the ability to transition between a liquid diet and a regular diet. In the soft diet, very soft food items are given to the patient that can be easily chewed and digested. These food items are properly cooked and are easily swallowed.
- Normal diet: In this type of diet, the patients can eat normal food items. In other words, it can be called the house diet. It varies from person to person. Depending upon the individual’s requirements and specifications, the diet can be changed. For example, if a pregnant woman is suffering from dengue, her body needs more calories, proteins, fats, and such other significant nutrients and vitamins!
What food is good for dengue?
- Goat Milk: Experts have said that goat milk helps in improving the digestive tract and the metabolic utilization of various minerals like iron, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium. It even helps in improving the metabolism of individuals suffering from dengue fever. Ayurvedic practitioners have stated that it is written in Indian scriptures that goat milk helps in recovering fast from dengue, as it is light and can be easily digested.
- Papaya Leaf- Rich in enzymes like papain and chymopapain, it helps in digestion, bloating, and other digestive issues. It is said that consuming 30ml of fresh papaya leaf juice helps in improving blood platelet count, and therefore, helps in overcoming dengue.
- Pomegranate- It is rich in the required nutrients and vitamins, which provide the body with the required amount of energy. Did you know? It even helps in reducing fatigue and the feeling of exhaustion.
- Coconut Water- Dengue generally leads to dehydration. This makes the consumption of coconut water immensely beneficial, as it is loaded with electrolytes and vital nutrients.
- Turmeric- As it has antiseptic properties and helps in boosting metabolism, the consumption of turmeric with milk helps in faster recovery.
- Fenugreek- It helps in inducing sleep and even acts as a mild tranquilizer, which can aid in easing the pain.
- Orange- Being rich in antioxidants and Vitamin C, it helps in eliminating the dengue virus.
- Broccoli- Being an excellent source of Vitamin K, it helps in regenerating blood platelets.
- Spinach- Being a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids and iron, it helps in improving the immune system and also acts as an effective way to improve the blood platelet count.
- Kiwi- It contains a good amount of Vitamin A, E, along with potassium, which helps in balancing the level of electrolytes in the body and limits hypertension and high blood pressure.
What should you avoid eating when suffering from dengue fever?
Get those cravings under control when suffering from dengue. Eating healthy can be really helpful, and the foods that you must avoid are:
- Oily/Fried Food- It contains a lot of fat, which may lead to higher blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
- Spicy Food- A big ‘NO’ for dengue patients, it can cause acid to collect in the stomach, which can lead to ulcers and damage to the wall.
- Caffeinated beverages- Although your body needs a lot of fluid, caffeinated ones are not made for you! These can cause rapid heart rates, fatigue, muscle breakdown, and even caffeine crashes!
We wouldn’t want that to happen!
- Non-vegetarian food- The consumption of non-vegetarian food is a big ‘NO’ one again. You should increase your fluid intake, and consume warm water instead of normal water too!
Well, this was all for dengue! However, if you have any severe symptoms mentioned above, you need to go for emergency medical treatment.
Now, there have been certain experts who have said that consuming goat milk can be helpful in recovering from dengue fever. Why is that? It is simple. Goat Milk contains selenium, which acts as an enzyme that protects the body from cellular damage, as it has antioxidant properties. Experts further stated that by consuming goat milk, you are consuming Selenium, which helps improve the immune system. Further, its antioxidant properties help reduce oxidative stress, which, in turn, helps the dengue-infected individual. There is no cure for dengue, but you can surely turn to home remedies, which include consuming goat milk to help your body recover!
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