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Dengue: One mans Story

April 27th, 2009

dengue_bookletI contracted Dengue last week on Friday (June 2007) and can truly say it’s the most awful illness that I have ever experienced. I’m through the worst of it and I can now sit up for as long as 5 minutes but really have to stay near the bed. The smallest exertion means a lie down.

On that Friday night, it was as if a cold was coming on except every bone in my body ached.

However, on Saturday morning my appearance had changed. My body was red and bloated and every hair on my head was standing up. My now bloodshot eyes were popping out of my head. I was sweating like a waterfall, all my bones ached and I had completely lost the will to move. I couldn’t talk, only mumble and mutter or burble. To make matters worse I had a headache, which was like someone pushing metal spikes in and out of my temples.

A neighbour was summoned who immediately whisked me off to Unimed. When I first entered the hospital, I was shirtless, red, swelling and sweating, my eyes protruding, my head lolling from side to side, hair standing on end and I was blubbering like a three year old. To boot, I was walking like a horse riding robot, sans horse. To cap it all, I exploded from both ends. I was completely without shame because I had no control so don’t be embarrassed when the unspeakable happens.

A Doctor who spoke flawless English attended to me immediately.

After a blood test, Dengue was confirmed and he then explained to me there was no cure and that I had to keep my body full of fluid preferably coconut water or water. I could only use Tyrinol not Aspirin to relieve the pain. I was given a saline drip and sent on my way.

Once home I practised my projectile vomiting and yet untried diarrhoea technique. Everyone was very sympathetic. The weekend was a nightmare. I was so concerned that I asked to be taken back to hospital again. We went but there was nothing else that could be done.

By Tuesday, the swelling had eased and my appetite had stared to return. I was able to eat two pears the whole day along with 6-8 litres of water. I took Tyrinol every few hours. Today finds me rested but severely debilitated. I think about doing something but it takes an age to convert into action. I am on soup now but still unable to stomach meat.

Dengue diet

It is important to eat the right thing during your bout of Dengue. We took the advice of Doctor Jocelem Salgado, President of the Brasilian Society of Functional Foods (SBAF);

Rehydration and food rich in iron are the most important things for the recuperation of patients. Dengue is a disease caused by a virus (Flaviviridae) spread by the bite of the female mosquito, Aedes Aegypti.fruit

The diet must be light and easy to digest. It must consist of fruit and a variety of vegetables and where possible, food rich in iron, such as red lean meat. Fruit rich in vitamin C like acerola, oranges and lemons help increase the absorption of iron and preventing anaemia. Fundamental is the high absorption of liquids including water, coconut water, fruit juices and teas.

* Even people without an appetite should be encouraged to eat small portions of food, every two or three hours and given lots to drink.
* Don’t go out at dusk or dawn unless you are wearing long sleeves and loose fitting trousers.
* Always wear repellent. Anything that has DEET or Citronella.
* Wear nets over the bed; a very cheap, simple but effective remedy.
* Use ceiling fans or table fans to disturb the flow of air around where you are sitting or sleeping.
* Use plug in repellents with additional vapour attachments.
* Don’t be afraid to use house sprays.

Clear away any areas where water can accumulate; old tyres, ornament feed trays, unblock gutters, which can hold water, turn bottles upside down (or better still return them). Keep swimming pool water well treated; mosquitoes hate the smell of chlorine. Keep cisterns and water tanks covered.

Coffee dregs from the filter can be mixed with adubo and sprinkled around the base of plants

More advice on the João Pessoa dengue line (83) 3250 3141/3285.

Do not underestimate Dengue, it could be the death of you!

You should always have a check up by a doctor; the symptoms of Dengue in its early stages are similar to leptospirose, the disease caught from rats urine.

A vaccine for Dengue has been announced by the SP Butantan Institute. It should be available by 2010.

João Pessoa has recorded a 95% reduction in cases of Dengue from Jan 1, 2009 to March 1 and not a single case of dengue hemorrágica has been recorded.

The dengue FAQ can be found here


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