Thursday 19 June 2014

Encounter with dengue

I was recently down with dengue fever and let me testify, it was a terribly journey to go through. I felt dead and thankfully, I've recovered to be alive and kicking again. 

June holidays is here, and I urge everyone to make a conscientious family effort to keep our environment safe whether we are going on a vacation or not. Let's begin from home - our corridors, plants, vases, air-con tray, bamboo pole holders, water containers, floor traps and any places where stagnant water can be. We don't want to create a breeding environment for aedes mosquitoes, which are easily identifiable by its distinctive black and white stripes on their body. It's terrible!

How it's transmitted
Dengue is transmitted when aedes mosquitoes bites an infected person and carries on to bite another. The peak biting period is at early morning and evening. The incubation period after being bitten is between 4 to 7 days. Trust me, you won't want anyone in the family to get attacked. It's too much for a grown up to bear, what more for kids. I'm glad this pest decided to go for me instead of anyone else in the family.

Dengue has a few symptoms. I matched most of them - sudden onset of fever, severe headache with retro-orbital (behind the eye) pain, joint and muscle pain, nausea and vomiting. The only symptom which didn't come on me was rashes. Seek medical attention as early as possible if these happen. I got suspicious as my fever didn't subside after 3 days. 

Medical attention
At doctor's discretion, he'll determine if you should be hospitalized or treated as outpatient. I did my blood test at the nearest hospital's A & E and was treated on outpatient, as platelet count was above 50,000. After which, along the days, my tests showed a declining count. I had to be hospitalized on day 7, when my count went below 50,000. Imagine that 7 days of extreme discomfort! And it didn't end just there.

I was treated on drip and given medication for fever and nausea at the hospital, which under the care of the doctor and fabulous white angels, my platelets went up and I could discharge on day 9. That was when I totally recovered my energy and appetite. I'm happy to be back home, back to my routines and back to my role of responsible parenting. I had been guilty of neglecting the kids.

For daily blood tests, you may do so at your nearby GP. The GP I went was kind to give me priority queue. It wasn't easy to wait long in a dengue infected condition. Unless, you feel alright to do long wait, you may do so at the polyclinic. It's cheaper and test result is speedier. GP needs to send the drawn blood to a lab, which requires some time before they call you to inform on the result. 

Dengue had been an ongoing problem in our climate. Other than making great effort in our routine house checks, we started stocking up on repellents and mozzie coils. Beware that mozzie coils aren't good when inhaled. We used it for outside the house, away from humans. Repellents with DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) are usually more effective, and lasts longer in terms of re-application. DEET should however, be avoided on children below 2 years old. 

If you're not comfortable with DEET, Citronella is another alternative. It may not be as effective as DEET, but it's natural and safe for very young children. We use a combination of both, DEET for outdoor and we prefer spraying them on clothing than skin. Children above 2 years old should use mosquito repellent in lower concentration of DEET between 7 - 20%. Mosquito repellent with DEET in concentration between 20 - 30 % is only suitable for adult. Look out for the concentration on repellents' packaging. For home, we use Citronella.

You may use eucalyptus oil too, but note that children below 3 years old should avoid using it. Some websites quote 10 years old.

In the night, we go for the aircon and get the kids into long sleeves pyjamas. During the day, I'll try to get their legs fully covered. Long sleeves tops aren't practical for the day though.

It is especially important to use preventive measures on a dengue infected person. We want to stop the transmission by not getting attacked again, and allowing it to pass onto another person.

There are 4 strains of dengue. Similar strain will not reoccur in a person, but nobody would want a collection of all 4. Prevention is better.

Let's all make good effort in bringing the cases down, I get very dishearten each time I read an increase of infected count, because I went through it and I know it's very tough. There's no specific treatment to dengue, an infected person has to dreadfully go through its course. I spent most time on bed and could hardly get up to work on anything. Appetite was zero. It was a painful 9 days battle for me. Did I mention, there were occasions when doctors couldn't draw blood out of my vein, and had to look for another point. Just so ouch!

In midst of these, I'm grateful to my mum and man for upping their roles with Js. The man got days off work to fill in my lacks, and my Mum ensured that Js are well fed and cleaned. I exhausted them totally. The role of a Mum is just too essential and simply irreplaceable! And thanks to my lovely friend, Jes, who sent me nice greetings with pretty sunflowers. You made me smile.

Keeping hopes high for an effective solution in the medical and dengue research area. Meanwhile, let's wipe out dengue together!

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My references and for good read:

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