Dengue, a killer disease that has terrorized Malaysians for generations

Dengue, a killer disease that has terrorized Malaysians for generations

In the year 2010, Malaysia recorded 190 deaths that resulted from dengue fever. Although this is relatively low compared to other more serious diseases, dengue remains as one of the priorities among the health authorities in the country. In fact, this disease dates back to the late 1700s and has continued to be a menace to many societies ever since.

The WHO (World Health Organisation) recorded that dengue was at 41 of the top killer diseases in Malaysia that year and this is one health problem that Malaysians have to bear with for many years now. Dengue fever is common diseases in the country mainly due to the tropical climate which Malaysia has, similar to other countries around the region.

What is it really?
Dengue fever is commonly known as breakbone fever where this disease is caused by the dengue virus carried by the Aedes mosquito. Symptoms of this disease start from mild headaches to high fever, joint pains and skin rashes. In some extreme cases, dengue fever can develop into dengue hemorrhagic fever which will cause more severe problems like low levels of blood platelets, blood plasma leakage and bleeding and eventually causing death.

In most cases, dengue is commonly associated with Hemorrhagic fever which means that the patient’s blood is being infected by the dengue virus. Infants and small children and the elderly are the higher risk groups exposed to dengue hemorrhagic fever mainly because of their inferior immune system.

Symptoms of Dengue
The symptoms of dengue fever can vary among individuals. It usually starts with the common symptoms of a cold or fever. This means that you might be at risk of dengue fever if you have prolonged duration of fever, sore throat and headaches. If the condition worsens and you shave nausea, vomiting joint pains then it is very important to have your blood checked. Rashes on the skin is another almost certain sign that you could be at risk. Other more serious sings include cold or clammy skin and bleeding.

Diagnosis
Once your symptoms have been ascertained, the doctor will need to run certain diagnosis to determine if you have dengue hemorrhagic fever. This will include checking your blood pressure, your glands and skin and blood tests with coagulation studies as well as an X-ray. If the results are positive, then you will need to be admitted to the hospital immediately. As such, it is often suggested that you carry out the tests in the hospital instead of the clinic which can expedite the whole process.

Avoiding Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever
The best way to minimize this disease and its risk is by minimizing the chance of the multiplication and breeding of the Aedes mosquito. As Malaysia enjoys the tropical climate season, the hot and humid environment makes it an ideal breeding ground for the Aedes mosquito. In most cases, Aedes will be able to breed in places where there are stagnant pools of water and among plants and vegetation. Hence, it is always advised that such pools of water be eliminated so that the insect will not able to lay its eggs. Apart from that, one must drink lots of water, ensuring that the body is always hydrated and fit.

The Aedes mosquito is known to always attack its victim during the day, most likely around the mornings. Although this is very common, people are still advised to kill the mosquito if they spot any. The Aedes mosquito can be easily distinguished by its black and white stripes on the tail of the body compared to other common house mosquitoes.

Treatment
Despite many years of research and medical development, there is still no specific medication for dengue infection. At the moment, the most common medication used is antibiotics and certain types of painkillers while hospitals use more sophisticated methods and treatment for more serious cases.

Basically, if you are diagnosed with dengue fever, you will be required to stay in the hospital where you will be monitored in terms of your blood platelets level. If you have fever that has been going on for 2 to 7 days or Thrombocytopenia with platelet count of ≤100 000/mm3, then you will need to be monitored.

Besides modern medicine, you should drink more coconut water because it can facilitate the body ion replacement through its high content of electrolytes and minerals. Other known foods that you should take include orange or lemon juice in which the vitamin C helps in the building of antibodies. Papaya leave juice is used by doctors although it might sound traditional while ginger water helps to overcome the nausea the patient is experiencing. Basically, you should be taking high-fiber juice which aids in the recovery and building of antibodies in your body.

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