According to News Straits Times, Malaysia’s National Crisis Preparedness and Response centre reported that in January 2016, there were 2, 404 dengue cases nationwide. Selangor received the highest number of cases at 1, 163, Johor with 399, followed by Kuala Lumpur at 155, and finally 336 deaths reported. A number like this cannot be overlooked, and today, our health department is striving to provide a solution.
We have heard stories about how dangerous dengue can be. I never knew what it was like, but nursing a loved one with dengue was enough to know how painful it must be. To many whom might not have experienced it, dengue may just be a disease with symptoms like high fever and body pains. The truth is, a dengue patient suffers much more than just physical pain. It is psychologically depressing because of the constant worry of how deadly dengue can be. Before this, it never crossed my mind why dengue is a serious matter until loved one was diagnosed dengue; it taught me how to understand how dangerous it can be.
What is Dengue?
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Dengue is a painful, viral infection transmitted by Aedes female mosquitoes. When a person is bitten by an Aedes mosquito, their blood is infected. That means, it can’t be spread to another person. The early symptoms can easily be mistaken as flu or fever. However, if other symptoms such as severe headaches, pain behind the eyes or severe muscle pain and vomiting occur after four to five days, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Why is Dengue Dangerous?
1. From Bad to Worst
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Did you know that when a dengue fever becomes worst, it can turn into severe forms such as dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). Once it reaches this state, it can cause damage to our lymph and blood vessels, causing bleeding in the nose and gums, followed by failure in our cardiovascular system.
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Dengue is a severe disease that can potentially lead to death. When it becomes serious, a person should be hospitalized to be monitored closely. This is because, if it worsens, this dangerous disease can turn into a much more deadly condition called dengue shock syndrome (DSS). It is when a person experiences massive bleeding, followed by shock and then death.
3. More Dangerous Dengue: The Zika Virus
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It is a myth if someone tells you that you can’t get dengue more than once. As long as there are mosquitoes laying eggs in standing water, dengue will continue to become a dangerous infection. A person has at least, one year immunity after surviving his or her first dengue fever. Did you know, there is another type of dengue virus called the Zika Virus? Just like dengue, it is also transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, causing symptoms such as fever, conjunctivitis, joint and muscle pain or severe headache. According to World Health Organization (WHO), Zika Virus is currently spreading in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.
4. There are No Specific Treatments for Dengue
Dealing with dengue is a battle because there are no specific medications for dengue. When a loved one was diagnosed dengue, no medication was given, not even antibiotics but paracetamol for bringing the fever down. The only thing that helped was water to keep him hydrated, and drinking juice extracted from papaya leaves to help increase the platelet count. Thankfully, he was not hospitalized but was required to visit the hospital everyday for a blood and hydration level test.
Long Road to Recovery
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This nasty disease can last up to 10 days and nothing much can be done except drink plenty of water, rest and monitor your temperature. If you are recovering from dengue at home, the best thing to do is to make sure that you sleep well. If you don’t have the appetite for solid food, have soup instead and drink juice like pomegranate. Since there are no medications for dengue, there are several home remedies that you can try like drinking papaya leaf juice or crab meat soup.