We are facing the epidemic of Dengue fever especially in Lahore. You must have heard many things about this problem. I would like to use this platform to share a few details that may help diagnosis, investigate, manage and prevent this disease.
1.This is a viral infection transferred by a special strain of mosquito.
2. When a person is infected, he gets fever, body pains, abdominal pain and nausea.
3. Every fever is not dengue, so don’t panic.
4. Over 90% of dengue fever is not harmful, that means no chance of bleeding.
5. In Dengue fever our blood cells start decreasing because it affects our blood cell forming factory that is bone marrow. White blood cells (these provide us immunity against infection) and platelets (help in our blood clotting) are the most effected cells.
1. Any one infected with dengue should not take Tab Disprin, Tab ponstan, Tab dicloran, or any other pain killer, called NSAIDs in medical terminology.
2. Don’t take any antibiotics. We stop all above medicines because they can also affect our platelets, which are already effected by Dengue virus.
3. Patients can only take paracetamole tablets. Paracetamole is not the treatment of dengue. It will only control fever and body pains, so if u don’t have fever don’t take it.
4. Take plenty of water, fresh fruits and vegetable, in particular apple juice with lemon.
5. Patients can take raw papaya (papeeta) leaves juice (raw, don’t boil).
All these things are good for your immunity; taking more water in any form is important. It also helps purify the body through urine.
6. Please don’t rush to local doctors because most of our friends don’t follow the above protocol and start giving above medicines, injections, and even steroids. In any case, the same protocol is followed in all hospitals now.
7. If your fever continues for 3 days, to be on the safe side gets a blood test done. You can go directly to any good lab and ask for complete blood count (CBC)
All good labs have automatic cell counter, so they can give you report in half an hour.
8. Remember, the normal platelet count is above 150,000. Most dengue patients have counts between 60,000 to 90,000 and it starts rising after few days of illness. Platelets count less than 10,000 may be harmful, and needs admission in hospital. If bleeding starts from nose, gums, or in urine and stool, patient needs platelets transfusion.
9. Doctors ask you to bring mega unit of platelets. There is a special machine called cell separator. Donor is attached with the machine for about 90 mins, and platelets are separated from his blood and rest of the blood is pushed back to body. Very safe procedure no harm to donor, it costs around 20,000 in private sector.
Shaukat Khanum Hospital, Sheikh Zayed Hospital, Hameed Latif Hospital and many other hospitals have this facility. Fatimeed Foundation is also providing cells free of cost. Platelets only stay few hours at room temp so need urgent transfusion to patient. One mega unit increases 15000 to 20000 cells.
Take all measures to prevent mosquito bites; you would know this very well. Most important measures are.
1. Ask your children to wear full sleeves shirts, no shorts please. Use socks.
2. Avoid morning walk in gardens.
3. Stop kids from playing in grass and gardens.
4. Stop drinking evening tea in your lawns.
These all measures are for few weeks only. As soon as winter starts dengue-causing mosquito will die.