Friday, October 16, 2009

Dealing with the Dengue Virus

Last week my 9-year old angel was hospitalized due to several days of high grade fever.  Even before she was admitted to the hospital, I already monitored her platelet count through serial CBC.  As expected, her platelet count was slowly decreasing.  Being the "praning" mom that I am, I brought her to the hospital for proper monitoring and hydration.  My daughter had dengue hemorrhagic fever, Stage I. We spent 5 days in the hospital and I'm just thankful that my angel did not go into dengue shock syndrome.  Thank God!  Thank you also to all the friends and relatives who offered prayers for my baby.

According to global health experts, the mosquito-borne disease dengue has become almost unstoppable due to climate change. Cold temperature kills adult mosquitoes, including their larvae, limiting the population of dengue carrying mosquitoes. However, global warming has disrupted this natural procedure, resulting to increased mosquito populations and consequently of dengue worldwide. Tropical countries like the Philippines are particularly at high risk.
In the Philippines, Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III revealed that the Philippines experienced an alarming rise in reported dengue cases in 2007 when there were over 45,300 cases and 416 deaths.
"It was a pattern that was unusual because we were reporting dengue even at the start of the year – outside of the peak season. And what's more, the cases were bursting out of the usual 3- to 5-year epidemic cycles," Duque said.  "Dengue had thus become a virus that was misbehaving out of its niche and a frightening year-round public health threat." 

Dengue fever is transmitted through the bite of the Stegomyia albopticus (formerly known as Aedes
Aegypti) mosquito and is characterized by a sudden onset of fever, weakness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, eye, joint and muscle pain, and rashes.
There are four known strains of dengue, considered the second deadliest mosquito-borne disease next to next to malaria.

Here's a perspective on Dengue.

Man develops disease after 3-14 days (usually 4-7 days) of being bitten by an infective mosquito.
    * All age group & both sexes can be affected.
    * It occurs in two forms: Dengue Fever and Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) / Dengue Shock Syndrome.
    * Dengue Fever is a Flu-like illness
    * Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) is a more severe form of disease, which can lead to death.
    * Person suspected of having dengue fever must see a doctor at once.

Signs and Symptoms of Dengue Fever

   1. Abrupt onset of high fever
   2. Severe frontal headache
   3. Pain behind the eyes (retero-orbital pain) which worsen with eye movements
   4. Muscle and joint pains
   5. Loss of sense of taste and appetite
   6. Measles like rash over chest and upper limbs
   7. Nausea and vomiting
   8. Minor hemorrhagic manifestation like petechae, bleeding from nose or gums may occur.
   9. Low Platelet count

Preventive Measures from Dengue Infection

   1. Remove and clean areas where stagnant water is apparent.
   2. Use aerosol spray / Insect repellant spray (safe water-base formula) to prospective areas.
   3. Apply mosquito repellant lotion or spray.
   4. When entering a suspected area of mosquito infestation, wear clothes that do not expose arms and legs. (e.g. Pants and Shirt with sleeves)
   5. Be aware of Health campaigns in local areas for additional precautions.

Medical and Laboratory Procedures for Dengue Patients.

    * Complete Blood Count (CBC)
    * Platelet Count
    * Dengue NS1 Ag
          o Dengue NS1 antigen Detection
          o Positive Result as early as Day 1 of fever
          o Detection of all 4 Dengue serotypes

Nutrition and Diet Recommendations for Dengue Patients.

Normally, Physicians and Clinical Dietitians would suggest patients to continue Normal Diet or Diet as Tolerated regime. This is to foster the wasting of nutrient which the patient unconsciously lose during his/her sickness.

A No Dark Colored Food Diet (NDCF) or Hemoglobin free diet is also advice to patients which will undergo fecalysis exam to determine Blood Occult in the stools. A meat free diet is given for three (3) days prior to stool collection.

Highly colored foods, dark green leafy vegetables and Iron supplements are avoided as these tend to interfere with the test.

Foods that are safe to eat on NDCF diet regime.

    * Cheese
    * Milk
    * Eggs
    * Non-Leafy Vegetables
    * Refined Cereals
    * Fruits and Fruit Juices


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