What is dengue?
It is a viral infection caused by the bite of a mosquito (female Aedes aegypti mosquito), which has previously bitten a dengue patient. The disease is transmitted this way: patient-mosquito-healthy person. The symptoms surface 3 to 14 days after the bite.
When should I suspect it could be dengue?
If you have fever that doesn’t go with paracetamol tablets within 2 days, go to a doctor. You may or may not have other symptoms like headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting or rashes.
Is low blood platelet count, a sign of dengue?
As a first test, doctors order a blood test. The result would give lot of clues on why you have fever. A drop in platelet count could be a sign of dengue. The normal range is between 1.5 lakh and 4 lakh. But a drop in platelet count is no confirmation of dengue, as the count drops with any infection. So, a specific test for dengue is ordered.
After dengue is confirmed, with the specific test, the disease is monitored by looking at the count of the platelets. Typically, in a dengue patient, the platelet count keeps dropping. How fast and how much depends on many factors like immunity of the person and the severity of the attack.
Blood platelets help the blood to clot. When the count drops, there’s a risk of bleeding. So patients are advised even not to brush teeth, because the gums could bleed. There are also dangers of internal bleeding.
The platelet count is monitored every 24 hours. But once the count goes below 50,000, every 12 hours the count is checked. Doctors won’t let the count drop. Once it reaches a threshold level — around 15,000 to 20,000, or even 25,000 — platelets are injected.
Once the infection is out of the body, the platelet count starts increasing: at first slowly and then rapidly. The rate depends on the general health of the patient.
Is dengue dangerous, fatal?
If detected and treated early it is not. There is no need for panic or fear. A severe form of dengue can be dangerous, and even fatal without early medical intervention. So don’t ignore the flu-like symptoms. Visit a doctor.
What is the cure for dengue?
There are no medicines for dengue. Doctors give medicines for the symptoms; and intravenously administer fluids. Patients are told to have plenty of fluids, like water and fruit juice; and have normal food. Nausea and vomiting reduces food intake; and that, combined with the infection, makes the patient weak. The infection lasts about a week. Even after fever is gone, the patient takes about one or two weeks to recover from the tiredness. Fluids, and more fluids, is the only way out.
How beneficial are papaya leaves?
Word has gone around that pomegranate and papaya; and the juice taken out of crushed pomegranate skin, papaya and neem leaves are said to be good for generation of platelets. Doctors merely advise patients to have any fruit. Though benefits of pomegranate and papaya have been well known, the benefits of papaya leaf juice is a new development.
People who have taken papaya leaf juice have spoken of dramatic rise in blood platelet count: for example, from 30,000 to 2 lakh; and from 80,000 to 3.5 lakh, within 24 hours. In Kerala, I am told that not just ayurvedic doctors, but allopathic doctors too, are advising patients to have the papaya leaf juice. I was advised by a couple of nurses to give the juice to my wife. I am also told that
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