What is Dengue fever and how is it different from regular flu
Regular flu may be due to a simple viral or bacterial infection, amongst other possible causes. Dengue is a more dangerous form and needs a hands-on approach. The World Health Organisation says, "Dengue is a viral infection transmitted by the bite of an infected female Aedes mosquito. There are four distinct serotypes of the dengue virus (DEN 1, DEN 2, DEN 3 and DEN 4). The symptoms of the illness only appear 3–14 days after the mosquito bite and not immediately. Dengue fever is a flu-like illness that affects infants, young children and adults alike." A more severe manifestation of this illness, Dengue hemorrhagic fever, tends to affect children under 10 years of age which can cause abdominal pain, bleeding and affect the circulatory system.
Signs and symptoms to look out for
A drop in platelet count is a characteristic symptom of dengue fever. The most common symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains and skin rash. Sometimes, these symptoms may be confused with flu. If you experience the following over a few days, consult a doctor -
1. Sudden, high fever 2. Severe headaches 3. Pain behind the eyes 4. Severe joint and muscle pain 5. Fatigue and exhaustion 6. Nausea and vomiting 7. Skin rash 8. Low blood pressure
Diagnosis and treatment
Doctors can diagnose dengue infection with a blood test. There are no particular medicines or antibiotics to cure the same since it's caused by a virus but you are advised to rest and drink plenty of fluids. There is currently no vaccine for dengue.
Delhi and many parts of India are already reporting cases of Dengue. In this situation, many people are turning to some natural remedies to control this dreaded disease. We bring you some of the most effective home remedies as shared by health experts and doctors.
1) Giloy: Giloy is a very important herb in Ayurveda. It helps in maintaining the metabolic rate, strengthening the immune system and protects your body against infections, explains Dr. Gargi Sharma from New Delhi. She recommends that you boil the stems and serve it as a herbal drink. You can also add few Tulsi leaves in the drink.
2) Papaya Leaves: "It helps in increasing the platelet count and reduces the symptoms of fever like body ache, chills, feeling low, getting tired easily and nausea," says Dr. Gargi. You can crush the leaves and consume or drink the juice which helps in flushing out the toxins.
3) Fenugreek Leaves: These leaves are known to reduce fever and act as a sedative to ease pain and promote more restful sleep for patients. You can soak the leaves in water and then drink it or you can get methipowder and mix it with water and have it.
4) Goldenseal: Goldenseal is a herb whose dried root is used to make medicine. It has the ability to clear up the symptoms of dengue fever very quickly and eliminate the virus from the body. It works like papaya leaves. You use it in the same way like papaya leaves either by crushing and chewing or by juicing it.
5) Turmeric: It is also known to boost metabolism and helps in making the healing process faster. You can consume turmeric along with milk.
Dengue doesn't spread from person to person. You can prevent the risk of the disease by keeping your surroundings clean and wearing protective clothing. The dengue mosquito typically attacks during the day and some experts say the favourite spots are below the elbow and below the knee. They are generally active between the time period of August-October and do not breed when the temperature falls. Reduce the mosquito habitat by removing standing water around your house. You could turn to natural repellents like Lemon Eucalyptus Oil, Lavender, Neem Oil and Cinnamon Oil to protect yourself against mosquito bites. There are a number of plants that have mosquito repellent properties like feverfew, citronella, catnip and lavender. Place them around your house to keep mosquitoes away. Even herbs like garlic, lemongrass, basil, peppermint, rosemary may help.
About the Authors
Dr. Gargi Sharma is a Wellness Expert who runs the Aayna Clinic in Mehrauli, New Delhi. Dr. Simran Saini is a Nutritionist at Fortis Hospital in Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi.
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