Mosquitoes pose one of the biggest threats to public health and dengue is a major life-threatening disease spread by the insect. In fact, dengue is so serious that even a person who has survived the virus infection should continue taking care for some more time. This applies to normal dengue fever, dengue haemmorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome.
Rest and proper diet have to be ensured to help such people recover lost health. Moreover, steps have to be taken to prevent the spread of the dengue virus from them to others. The following are some important guidelines in this regard:
Fruits and vegetables
Patients who have recovered from dengue and related conditions should choose food items that are easily digested for a certain period. Plenty of fruits, fruit juices and vegetables have to be consumed as they are rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants.
Another good eatable is papaya fruit. Its leaf is also beneficial. As it contains plenty of Vitamin K, papaya increases platelet count, say some researchers.
Water is another crucial factor. Its intake has to be at least two litres, which may come to around eight glasses, a day. By drinking sufficient water, dehydration can be prevented. Conditions such as fever, vomiting and diarrhoea may lead to dehydration. In such a situation, ORS (oral rehydration solution) may be consumed.
In case some medicines have been prescribed, follow the advice of the doctor diligently. However, patients who have recovered from anti-haemmorrhagic fever should remember that some drugs such as NSIAD pain killers and aspirin may cause internal bleeding.
Take enough rest
All dengue survivors, especially those who spent time in the ICU (Intensive care unit) should take at least a couple of weeks’ rest at home before resuming their normal schedules.
Travelling and work need to be avoided during this time. Sleep at least eight hours a day. However, one need not be confined to the bed all the time but may engage in mild physical exercises like walking in the room. Incidentally, such tasks are crucial for regaining health.
Take every measure possible to contain the mosquito menace. This would prevent the transmission of the virus from the carrier to others. Similarly, mosquitoes can also cause repeat infection in a person who has recovered from the disease. Moreover, if the virus again enters the body of patient who had normal dengue fever earlier, he or she may develop dengue haemmorrhagic fever.
Keep the surrounding clean to keep mosquitoes at bay. Similarly, mosquito nets, repellents and body-covering clothes such as full-sleeve shirts can save you from bites.
What makes the situation a matter of concern is that a vaccine against dengue is yet to be developed.
(An author of medical books and public health activist, Dr T M Gopinatha Pillai works at Santhiniketan Hospital, Ponkunnam in Kottayam district)