Disclaimer: This is a layman’s guide for dengue. It must not be taken as a conclusive advise on the topic. Also there could be a variety of possible scenarios, based on case to case basis, please remain in close contact with your physician to be very sure about how you are treating a dengue patient.
Over 9000 dengue fever cases have already been reported in Pakistan this year, particularly in the upper part of Punjab and KPK. With the crisis nearing no resolution and the government seemingly absent and unable to take preventive measures, it seems like citizens are on their own during this public health crisis.
In this post, we will discuss how to prevent dengue – and if God forbid you or any of your friends or family are affected, how to make sure recovery is swift and complete.
How to Prevent Dengue
It’s very important to understand that prevention is the best cure when it comes to dengue. And for prevention, it’s essential to know to following facts:
- Dengue mosquitoes lay eggs on the walls of water-filled containers, such as buckets, drums, containers
- These eggs then dip into water for hatching to become larvae and then pupae that ultimately become dengue mosquitos.
- Dengue mosquito will never lay eggs in drainage, ditches, canals, wetlands, rivers or lakes.
- Dengue mosquito will lay eggs only into clean water that has walls, such as buckets, drums, room coolers, water tanks, broken tires (in open air that can hold water), pots, pans, etc. Things that can hold water, even if it’s rainwater.
- Once an egg is laid, it will take eight days for it to become a dengue mosquito
The bottomline? Be mindful of how you store water. Regularly wash all pans and utensils before you use them and make sure you don’t store water in open-air containers. Tanks and buckets must remain covered as well.
If you want to purge your house of all larvae and dengue mosquitos, you can use throw some Peganum Harmala (Called Harmal in Urdu) on burning coal.
Here are the details.
Get some hot coals in a pot and throw Harmal seeds on to it. The Harmal will explode with little popping sound when thrown into coal, releasing a fragrant smoke; which you must ensure that it reaches all corners of the rooms, especially in dark closets, behind the curtains, under the beds etc.
This is because dengue mosquitos usually are found in dark areas and corners of homes.
A great added benefit of Harmal smoke is that it’ll keep snakes and other insects away from coming into your home as long as the fragrance endures.
Detecting Dengue with-in First 24-48 Hours
First things first: There is no “cure” for dengue but if it is diagnosed within the first 24-48 hours, consider yourself half recovered already.
Thankfully, the lifespan of the dengue virus is short and its spread can be controlled with preventive measures.
If you in an area that is suffering from a dengue outbreak and you begin to experience high fever (anything above 101 C), you should immediately get tested for the dengue virus.
Please note that any delay in diagnosis of dengue may cause severe health complications and it could be fatal as well.
Lab test for dengue, after your sample is secured, takes around 2 hours and could cost you up to PKR 2,000.
In case of a positive diagnosis, the process controlling the dengue virus begins immediately.
Cure for Dengue
Please note that there’s no cure for dengue virus, but it can be fought down with preventive measures.
Here’s how you can fight the dengue virus:
- Large intake of water and fluids
- Full-time bed-rest. No activity at all, please.
There’s literally no other way. Fluid intake, either orally or through injections, will reduce the impact of the dengue virus. Quantity for injectable intake of fluids will depend on your weight, age and other factors and can be determined by a qualified doctor only.
For oral intake, drink one glass of water every half an hour.
Meanwhile, to prevent and control the fever, the doctor will also recommend you to take paracetamol (either through IV or orally) every 6-8 hours.
Following these steps, you can start recovering from dengue with-in 3-7 days, depending on how bad the infection had become when you first started the preventive measures.
Complications During Dengue
Dengue is particularly dangerous because it reduces your platelets, which usually number around 450,000, to as low as 10,000 within days.
If your fluid intake is low, the platelet count can drop by a staggering 100,000 or more within 12 hours. Platelet counts below 150,000 are considered abnormal and anything below 20,000 to 30,000 can be fatal.
You can check your platelet count by doing a Blood CP test, which costs around PKR 400-700 and you get results back withon an hour usually.
In case your platelet count is low and goes below 10,000, doctors will transfuse platelets, which comes with its own set of complications.
Now note this:
- Platelet count drops only when there’s a fever. Meaning that controlling the fever means controlling the platelet drop and ultimately, the dengue.
So the basic premise is to avoid fever and control it if you do suffer from it. And as we said before, that can be done by two things: 1) maximum intake of fluids and 2) taking medicine to control the fever.
One thing to note is that if your platelet count is above 250,000, you might not face any other symptoms of dengue and the fever itself could gradually go away within 2-3 days, followed by the dengue itself.
However, if platelet count goes below 100,000, then there could be serious implications, which could include:
- Severe headaches
- Pain behind the eyes
- Severe joint and muscle pain
- Skin rash, which appears two to five days after the onset of fever
- Bleeding from eyes, nose, gums etc. (when platelet count goes below 50,000)
Please keep in mind that these complications vary from case to case.
Organic Supplements to Fight Dengue Virus
All of our discussion above focused on weakening the dengue virus.
The other way to battle is to strengthen your immune system. Doctors don’t recommend organic supplements if you’ve already contracted dengue so these are preventive measures as well.
It must be noted here that these recommendations are based on personal experiences.
Papaya Leaf Extract
Take fresh and young leafs of Papaya (Called Papeeta in Urdu) and wash them well. Then crush these leafs in a pot to extract the juice. This papaya leaf juice is one of the best natural ways to combat a drop in the platelet count.
One spoon of Papaya leaf juice, three times a day is recommended.
Not to mention, papaya leaf extract is also useful for diabetic, cancer and other digestion related issues.
Fresh juices made from pomegranate (Anaar in Urdu), apple and pears, three times a day are recommended.
Please note that you should extract juice for apple and pear, instead of making a milk-shake.
One glass of goat milk, twice a day is recommended.
As mentioned multiple times above, there’s no cure for dengue virus. We just weaken it by making sure that patient is not dehydrated — i.e. through maximum possible in-take of fluids.
By doing so, you weaken the dengue virus during its cycle.
During the process, you make sure that you avoid fever (through medication) and avoid platelet drop (through papaya leaf extract) and other natural remedies alongside the doctor recommendations.
With the help of the above suggestions, the dengue virus can be controlled and cured without any major health complications.